When we last left our heroes, we had finished our first eventful day in Sa Pa and PTFO'd in our massive hotel beds (they were literally two queen beds pushed together) in preparation for our first full day of Sa Pa partying the next morning -- or Sa Pa-rtying if you prefer. Fair warning, that's not even close to the worst joke of today's blog.
Surprisingly, we'd only been in Sa Pa for about 12 hours when we met Sung at 9am to begin our long day. Three villages, 15km, infinity views, and probably a bunch of LOWs (Little Old Women who try to sell you stuff, if you missed episode 4).
We left on foot directly from our hotel and walked through town to a small path that would wind down into one of the villages. It only took about 45 seconds before a couple LOWs spotted us. It's not like we were that hard to find, a group of super white tourists carrying cameras and backpacks and towering over the 4'8" natives stick out like a Romney at a pride parade.
After the mandatory introductions "What's your name? How old are you? You buy from me?", they actually relaxed and tucked into the pack, apparently realizing this was going to be a long-sell. And honestly, they were pretty nice. One was named Mong Mai, and the other was her sister-in-law. I can't remember the sister-in-law's name so I'll just call her LaShawnda. That's almost definitely not her actual name though.
During the hike down to the first village we stopped every few minutes to take pictures of the incredible views. This posed a similar problem to what we had in Ha Long Bay: the views were gorgeous but when you go back and look at the pictures, they all basically look the same. Endless terraced hillsides, beautiful mountain ranges as far as the eye can see, yada yada yada. You'll just have to take my word that we weren't simply taking pictures of the same hillside from a bunch of different angles. These views were everywhere and absolutely impossible to do justice with a camera -- let alone an iPhone, which does double duty as my camera.
If I'm honest, the entire trek really was just walking past endless hills of terraces similar to the first ones we hiked through. Which when you put it that way sounds kind of boring. But it was anything but boring. Like I eluded to before, it's impossible to capture the immensity of nature, no matter how many megapixels your camera has. But when you're walking through it and experiencing it in person, it's truly astonishing. And peaceful too. That's one of the things I do miss about running an obscene amount of miles every week: getting away from real life for a few hours everyday and just enjoying what's around you. Sa Pa would be an awesome place to train as a runner. As long as you had enough agility to evade a few LOWs here and there.