You might be used to seeing certain things on here, outfits, exhibitions, perhaps even the odd tutorial, but trekking? Madness. Since this blog runs alongside my life and my recent stint in Vietnam included an intense 15km trek in Sapa and realisations about the world we live in, I'd be mad to leave it out. The scenery alone is worth throwing away a pair of Converse for. You see, I was woefully unprepared for the weather and lulled into a false sense of security by the concrete road we started off on before realising that muddy terrain beckoned and my future was a messy one. Yes, I was slipping and sliding about as if on ice with only one of the H'mong guides to help me (my traveller buds were waaaay ahead at this point) and I wondered what I'd let myself in for. I'd adopted a bit of a gung ho attitude about things I wouldn't usually do at home (I was never the Duke of Edinburgh type) and trekking just seemed like another thing I could handle.
The landscape was so surreal, it was if it had been carefully hand-sculpted and the colours were the most intense I'd ever seen. I thought I knew green pretty well before, but this puts any British landscape to shame. Once we'd passed the initial muddy mess and the mist had started to clear, I could start to get snap happy again and appreciate the amazing views from every angle. Any of my initial grumbles had gone (I'd got quite used to my dishevelled state) once we'd eaten lunch and started to admire all of the crafty bits the villagers make. In return for them showing you around, it's accepted that you'll buy a few pieces from the guides and I had to attempt some of my best haggling skills. Still, it's nice to have a more tangible memento of some of what was available though I'm regretting not asking them to make me one of the kid's dresses in my size!
My two days in Sapa felt like even more of a dream than the rest of the trip. We spent a night in Tava village seemingly unconnected from the world (though I did manage to find wifi in a nearby bar), chatting to the locals and sleeping on basic mattresses. Tradition and technology mix in the most unexpected ways, our tour guides were adorned in so many intricate, handmade fabrics yet all had smartphones and spoke better English than some other people I'd come across. You don't even realise there are places like this in the world until you visit somewhere like this and take a break from all of the parties and more comfortable excursions. I'll never forget having a few days of simplicity without the weight of my full backpack and look forward to challenging myself again.
Only two more posts from South-East Asia to go, a culinary one is next!