Monday, December 19, 2011

Travel Viet Nam...Getting to Sapa

We are here in Sapa, Vietnam with our family and their friends. It has been foggy and cool since we arrive at 5 am Sunday morning. We came from Hanoi on the train and traveled overnight in a sleeper car. It was a very basic train ride with 4 berths per room and extremely hard beds. We slept in our clothes and partied in the halls until we could no longer stand. We are traveling in a group of ten people. Just normal stuff, you know how it is!

This is not easy...train travel is what it has always been.  But, in this case it was the only way to get from there to here.  In our group, I was the only one that had never actually had a sleeping berth on the train.  I have learned that traveling at night on the train is hard.  But, in the end we managed a few hours of rest.  

After we were rousted from a deep sleep at around 4:45 am and struggled to let our legs to move, a porter yelled through the car door "GET OFF THE TRAIN NOW".  So we did.  Our group loaded onto a van and then traveled through the dark for an hour from the station to our Hotel in Sapa.  The day was very cold and wet and our rooms were not available until 11:00 am.  I kept thinking we were in a time/space continuum and time traveled at a snails pace here at the base of the Hoang Lien Son Mountains.  The children hung out in an upstairs lounge and we slept on pillowed chairs covered with pillows and blankets.  

Sapa lies northwest of Hanoi in the eastern extremities of the Himalayas.  
The Hoang Lien Son range of mountains dominates the district, which is at the eastern extremity of the Himalayas. This range includes Vietnam’s highest peak, Fansipan, at a high of 3142m above sea level and a vast area covered by thick forest, rich in wildlife. The town of Sapa lies at the attitude of about 1,600m. The climate is moderate, cool in summer, foggy and cold in winter with occasional snowfall.

View into the valley.

Yesterday we trekked out to a region called Cat Cat into the gorge past rice paddies, terraces landscapes, as black Vietnamese pigs foraged and water buffalo wandered about. It was all very picturesque. 

Here is where the reality of travel when you are 70 and not a physically fit as you think you are gives you a wake up call.  This trek took us 2 kilometers down, on steps, rocks and mud every step of the way.  Straight down, down, down.  My grandchildren and our friends children range in age from 4 to 10. They did not have a problem but I did!  I will question my ability to do this sort of thing from now on.  I know that my decisions have an affect on those around me and there will be a lot of occasion when the question will "If I do this will the people with me want to push me over a cliff before we get home?" In This particular case, I think the answer may have been "well maybe!".

So here is what I have learned...I don't need much sleep, I do not suffer from jet lag, I can eat just about anything but don't ask me to climb up or down mountains!  I should not do that!

More later!  


Many Steps Down
Village Dwelling
Have a wonderful day.

1 comment:

  1. I really admire your sense of adventure. Don't think I would do so well without a comfortable bed-would be a bit grumpy. But it is good to do things outside your comfort zone. You are making wonderful memories.


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