Seriously, its been real.
I’m so glad I went down into the village with Mama Su on my first day. It was a spur-of-the-moment decision, but worked out for the best because the thunderstorms rolled in over the mountains on day two. Given how caked with mud my boots were from the trek through the rice patties on a clear, sunny day (and how many times I slipped into the rice on the way back up- thanks happy water!) I was glad to take the rainy day for a little r&r at the spa.
And boy, I needed it! I went to bed early on my birthday and slept for a solid 12 hours. Far from being a bummer, I actually enjoy a good thunderstorm, and got to watch it out the window from the spa across the street from my hotel. For about $40 (and a generous tip) i got a mani/pedi, foot massage, head and neck massage, and even got my hair washed and dried as the water pressure at the hotel was abysmal. Then, feeling all fresh n clean, I decided to make use of my raincoat a bit and walk around the (still busy) wet streets of Sa Pa.
I ate, fillled out a ton of postcards, then stumbled across a rowdy group of Aussies to enjoy a beer with on the balcony.
Day three was more of the same, and at about 5 pm I took one last look at the gorgeous vista before piling my stuff in a van to head back to Lao Cai and catch my night train.
I’m sitting right now at the train station, enjoying the free wifi, and passing a bottle of rice “wine” (cough, cough… LIQUOR) betwixt me and some cool kids from Poland (who find my inability to down liquor without grimacing absolutely hilarious). I’ll wake up at 5am in Hanoi and then it’s into another van to catch the junk boat in Ha Long bay. I’ll definitely be off the grid for the next few days, kayaking, swimming, and squid fishing with whoever else happens to be on that boat. So for now, chao!