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Monday 7 Apr 2003
Sapa, Vietnam

Speeding around Sapa!

I arrived in Sapa this morn after a surprisingly restful sleeper on the train from Hanoi, but had about 2 minutes from waking up to getting off the train because the train was literally pulling away any second! *GROAN*

I think I didnt forget anything (this fear of course pervades the entire trip every morning!!) but jeez give us some warning next time lads!!

The first thing you notice about Sapa is how intensely beautiful and physical the landscape and weather are (as you drive through mountains the temperature changes from about 10 C to 25 C every 10 minutes depending on which section/height of the mountain you are on). You can literally jump from a cold zone to a hot zone, the juncture is THAT precise!

Most people coming to Sapa go on a trek to take in the local villages, but I did one better and hired my own moto and explored the villages by myself. As always, this proved to be the best way to take in the sights!! While driving through hot and cold regions the scenery and people were amazing (the kids look really cute in their HMong and Zay costumes... photos soon). I almost skidded the bike over cliffs several times as my eyes were wandering or as I tried to stop at photo spots. Its a risky business

Today I saw the hill-tribes of the HMong and Zay people (they look and dress completely different.. there is no inter-marriage in these highlands!) at Cat Cat, Lao Chai and surrounding villages.. the road to Lao Chai in particular was murder on the backside (I was expecting my tires to puncture any second but some miracle prevented that...). Also took in the Silver Waterfall and I trekked up a bit alongside the waterfall which was fine... getting down was the hard part

I also bought a "trendy" hill-tribe shirt. Now I can finally blend in with the backpackin hippies in Bangkok!

So far Im really impressed with Sapa... this and Hoi An are now my favourite spots in Nam.

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