Thursday, October 9, 2008

Good Morning Vietnam!

After a 15 hour bus ride from hell, we finally crossed the border into Vietnam. We came in at about 10 PM and had left at about 7 AM that morning. All we had eaten was Oreos, chinese potato chips and lots of candy. Needless to say we were starved. Our arrival in the little mountain town of Sapa was like a little piece of heaven. Next to our hostel, there was a real live Italian place. I had not had cheese in a month! I ordered spaguetti carbonara and we shared some garlic bread, wine and salad with real feta. I was in heaven. Obviously, with western food come western prizes and my meal came at the small fortune of 410,000 dongs. Which is about 30 dollars. But it was all worth it. I felt renewed and ready to face anything.

Vietnam is pretty different from China, I am looking forward to exploring more of it in the next couple of days. So far the food is a lot less spicy and a lot less greasy. It seems that more people speak English, as tourism is more common. Now, I dont know a single person that has been to Vietnam on "holiday" as the British say, but apparently it's a big packaged vacation spot for wealthy Europeans and Australians making their way to Thailand and Indonesia. Who would have known?

Sapa is known for it's bad weather and so far it's come true. It is basically always drizzling. But the best/worst thing is the vendors. The girls from minority villages (H'mong, Red Dao) come down from their mountain homes and sell really cool homemade stuff. They are SO persistent too! They will wait for you while you eat, ask your name and remember it the next day. They follow you in packs of 7 and all at the same time tug at your sleeve and say "buy from me" "you buy from her, now it's my turn, buy from me" I am not kidding. I bought a kick ass bed spread )for you mom, if you are reading)and it was a big mistake. As soon as I gave the money to the lady, I was surrounded by literally dozens of girls and old women saying "now, buy from me" it was crazy. They have a large assortment of things, but a lot of it you know you would never use it. After this incident, Jen and I ducked into a restaurant and just waited for them to go away. It is funny and sad and awkward and great at the same time. It's almost like a big joke. They know or can tell you feel bad and pawn on that. I definitely bought some crappy earrings for $2 from an old lady with no teeth, just because she kept following me and calling me friend. "friend, buy from me" I have bought other things, but I am too embarrassed to admit it.

All in all I am loving Sapa, today I spent the majority of the day alone, cause people went hiking again and there was no way in the world I was going hiking in the rain again. I learned my lesson last time.

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