A conversation with a friend yesterday reminded me of the great joy that was our stay in SaPa.
One of my former roommates, Karl, has been to Vietnam more than a few times. He gets a job here, works at it for a while, maybe a year at most. Then he quits, heads to Asia, and returns in a month or two with a glimmer in his eyes. Then he finds a job again. Rinse, repeat.
He’s quite an inspiration sometimes, and I met him a few days before our flight. Among other things, he gave me a phone number for Sumi and suggested I talk to her when I’m in SaPa. SaPa was definitely on our list,a beautiful tucked away town in the mountains where a lot of ethnic minorities come from the surrounding hills to do business and such. The minorities also offer homestay – you “live with the family” in their home, and get to experience a preview of their lifestyle. We called Sumi from Mr.Zoom’s hostel in CatBa and told her we’d be coming tomorrow and we’d call her. The conversation was short and somewhat arbitrary, so we weren’t sure what to make of it.
Come 5 am the next morning, we get dropped in the middle of Sapa. The blanket of fog lifted to reveal a pretty town, built around the top of a small hill, surrounded by other large hills and the valleys between them. The streets ran up and down the side of the incline, and if you peeked beyond the houses, you could get a glimpse of the idyllic rice fields and river valleys as far as the mountain ranges meet the sky.
It was early morning and business was just starting, people were just starting to come out.
Staying with the locals, planting rice, biking around the hills.
More yet to come.