Saturday, September 10, 2011

Thoughts about Sapa (while standing in the Sapa Summit Hotel lobby)

Just three more days before I come home.
What I have learnt from this trip so far is never to complain about how terrible my life is. Well, it might still be terrible but in a different way.
I have a huge respect for the Hmong and other tribal women in Sapa. Despite having a lesser status in society, they remain so tough, brave and entrepreneurial, and great at multi-tasking. They could carry a child on their back, follow you for many kms down to different villages, help you down slippery slopes, find some medicinal grass that can heal your wound and still be able to weave wild grass to make their traditional woven bags which they endeavor to sell to you at the end of the trek.

The lady who escorted me down the hugely slippery 12km to her village today was the bravest of the lot, I might say, especially since I am such a hefty cow. I leant heavily on the bamboo pole (sharpened into a natural treking tool, and was excellent for digging new paths into the slippery slope). In the end I just tipped her 50KVND without buying anything. She had to put up with me alot, especially with my cursing in English and German whenever I felt like it. I wish I could give her more (I'd think that my life costs more than ~S$4, but I have a ton of stuff I need to buy for the house and I still haven't gotten started. And I had already been conned by one of her compatriots yesterday. In the end, I had to change more $$)
My Savior
I also learnt that maybe French is a more useful language than German. Hahahhahahaha. I was practically throwing "s'il vous plaît", "Merci beaucoup" and "Parlez-vous anglais?" (they were the only three phrases I know *haha*) everywhere I went, especially in Sapa.

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