Saturday, March 24, 2012

Parents' Visit- Sapa Beginning Our Trek

Now if you've ever heard of Sapa... you think of green terraced hills full of rice and beautiful forested mountains.
In actuality you get... well... you get exactly that. The picture above is one my parents took while we were there. Gorgeous isn't it? The bus ride into Sapa was quite picturesque.  While we were waiting for our tour guide we noticed many of the villagers waiting outside our hotel. There was a hoard of Black Hmong ladies waiting to take advantage of gullible tourists. Hahahahaha...
They were all really nice though. My Mom went outside to talk with them and they let her take their picture. They probably tried to sell her some of their embroidery too.
The rest of us stayed inside and laughed as my Mom was surrounded by all these ladies. Jayce fell asleep in grandpa's arms.
After awhile I went outside with Terryn to scope out the view of the hillside. The ladies all thought Terryn was pretty cute and I tried to get a picture of him with them, but he was being shy.
I managed to get a picture of my Mom with some of the ladies before she came back inside the hotel.
We still had about an hour before our guide was going to show up so we walked down the street to look at some shops. At some point down the road my Mom and Dad were bombarded with ladies selling random stuff. It seemed like they kept gathering around them. I took a few pictures and then my Dad noticed me taking their picture and he started laughing.
I think my Mom ended up buying something eventually, but we realized pretty quickly that if we didn't want people following us around trying to sell us stuff then we had to give them a very firm, "No."

Our guide showed up at 9:30. Her name was Chi. She was also from the Black Hmong tribe. We started hiking down the hill toward the village of Lao Chai. She took a picture of us as we started our trek.
Along the way her husband passed by on motorbike with their baby.
Our trek took us down the road quite a ways.
We passed by lots of bamboo trees and scenic vistas of the valley.
At some point Chi asked us if we wanted to continue down the road or if we could handle a bit of hiking.
We chose to go off-road and I think we are so glad we did.
The trail gave us better views of the valley.
We were also impressed at some of the villagers as they trekked down the trail carrying huge, heavy baskets on their back.
We saw many terraces full of water. They were just starting to plant the rice crop.
Many of the tiers around Sapa grow corn or indigo too.
The whole time we were here it felt so surreal. It was unbelievable how beautiful everything was. The valley, the people. We were also very blessed that the weather was good while we were there too. It was a bit chilly, but it didn't rain that day and it wasn't super hot.
We hiked for quite a long time. Terryn walked by Sean and I carried Jayce in the backpack carrier.
Everyone did really well with the hike. Both Mom and I were concerned about our knees, but some of the Hmong ladies found us some walking sticks and that seemed to help quite a bit.

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