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Train tickets to Sapa





Sapa...Cat Cat Village



Sapa would probably be awesome if it was summer here. Sapa is situated very high up in the mountains of northern Vietnam so is covered in mist and is very cold... the coldest I've experienced so far. Washing my clothing in the hotel was probably a very pointless exercise. After 3 days, it was still wet. Nevertheless, Sapa is an interesting little town with about 30,000 people or so. The locals are very friendly. The girls, dressed in their local outfits, are the sellers, tour guides, friends and sources of information for the travellers. They are very friendly and keen to sell you anything from bangles to blankets to arm bands. Bargaining is essential here to keep prices down for future travellers. The locals have learnt to expect bargaining... they find it amusing. At times, bargaining can go on for 40 minutes or so for the benefit of a dollar or two. It's fun, trust me! 

Today we ventured down the hill to the Cat Cat village where a rather unspectacular waterfall is situated. Unfortunately, I slipped and scratched the camera and broke yet another cheap watch on this trip... my $35 Rolex from Phuket. Hopefully I will be able to get the watch band fixed soon because I was getting rather attached to the watch. Made me feel rich wearing a Rolex. Talking about rich, I can't believe it but the locals must see me as being an ATM. I have had nothing but trouble with each and every business transaction I've had in Vietnam. Getting change, or getting at least 30% off the initial price of things is rather difficult for me. I need to take lessons off Dave and Claire who seem to have bargaining down pat. At this stage of my trip I cannot separate the emotion from the business... I'm really bad at giving extra money to locals that I like. 

Anh is doing a fantastic job at taking us to many of the local restaurants. Beef curry has been my favourite Vietnamese meal so far... the food is very cheap here with most meals being less than $5. The beers are also very cheap... $1 for a rather large bottle of beer - the cheapest in SE Asia so far. 

My early impressions of Vietnam are positive... but not as positive as Thailand. I think 3 weeks here will be long enough. Whilst beautiful and culturally fascinating, there is something in the air that isn't really captivating me like Thailand did. But it is only early days so look forward to seeing what the next couple of weeks bring. I'm enjoying the group experience but everything takes soooooooo long. It's great having the company after being alone for 2 months but I get frustrated at being held back now and again. I'm really glad that the tour is rather balanced in that there are opportunities for you to go off and do your own thing. I'm rather surprised at how positive the group dynamics are.












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