Sa Pa, part IIPosted: September 13, 2012
On our second day in Sa Pa, we took a guided tour down to the terraced fields and the villages of the ethnic minority people around Sa Pa. We thought we were going to take a bus there, walk around a bit, get on the bus again for the next village (I should’ve paid closer attention to people at the hotel when they told me about the tour.) So when we followed our main guide (a very nice Hmong girl who speaks English) and the tour group out of town, we were a bit surprised – it looked like we were going to walk there all the way. At first it was great: we were walking on asphalt road, and it was a clear, balmy day. But then we turned into a dirt path leading down to the rice paddies, and I realized what we were in for. You see, it had been raining a lot the previous day or two, and all the paths were super slippery. And narrow. And steep. And then it started raining. Suffice to say, there was mud everywhere at the end of the day.
Still, it was fun, the view was gorgeous, and we all had strong, reliable local women to help us through the difficult paths. There was some falling down (Debbi later said, “I’ve always wanted to see a terraced field up close. I should’ve been more specific as to how close”), but the scariest part was when the woman helping me lost her balance and tumbled down a cliff. I just stood there with my hand over my mouth, feeling the panic rising inside of me. Luckily the cliff wasn’t very high, so she got up just fine and joined us five minutes later while all the other guides burst out laughing. You gotta love it when someone fell down a cliff and the reaction was laugh and “We’re just going to throw your shoes down to you.”
We did get picked up by a bus at the last village. And found out we’d walked about 10 miles that morning. I was so proud of myself.