Sunday, 19 February 2012

Sapa February 18th 2012

Sapa, it's foggy, it's miserable

Bus is overloaded with locals occupying space in the isles. They have good mats to sleep on this time so hopefully an uneventful night. Bus pulls in at Lao Cai railway station where the locals disembark leaving just six of us tourists for onward to Sapa. Lao Cai a town on the border with China and the last  station from Hanoi. Train passengers going to Sapa have to find onward transport.

It's 7am as the bus starts an ascent towards the mountain town of Sapa. Should be there by 8am, an hour late. According to another tourist, the bus broke down for an hour. I didn't really notice thinking its another stop for the locals as I was drifting in and out of sleep at the time. Valleys and ravines on the left, thankfully separated from the bus by crash barriers. Quite a scenic but shrouded in mist as the bus gains altitude and heads towards those clouds. Terraced rice fields can just be seen, although no rice since its winter here. The bus is enveloped by thick fog, we're in the clouds!

8.15 as the bus grinds to a halt, somewhere in the middle of Sapa. A man pops up as all six of us disembark, touting hotel rooms. It's cold, very cold, wet and thoroughly miserable. The room is only $6 so I didn't argue with that. I quickly find the catch - no heating. But there is hot water, Internet etc.

I need to eat and get a hot drink. I'm glad I bought a jumper, anticipating a rather cooler environment, but not this cool, must be only about 5 deg c. A few steps and there is cafe overflowing with locals, so must be OK. Noodle soup, just right for a day like this. No heating here either as everyone, even staff are wrapped up in winter clothing. A coffee across the road, as usual is an expensive thimble full, so I get them to fill the glass with more hot water.

The scene is, well, foggy. Thick fog obscures any scenery there might be, can't even see down the road as a drizzle sets in. Back to the hotel for a night bus recovery period.At least I have a thick duvet to wrap up in, and with wearing 2 pairs of socks, 2 t-shirts, jumper, jeans and a coat, should have a reasonably warm few hours kip.

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