I hate anything that involves tons of physical activity, I know it is not good for my health and I am pretty much aware that sitting for long periods of time coupled with unhealthy diet of junk food and fizzy drinks will shorten my life expectancy. Yep, I am a complete wuss, but since I am an IT geek, we are all expected to be a bunch of wusses so I really didn’t care much that I haven’t done tried trekking at all. I think in fact I have been avoiding doing any trek for all these years because of my wussiness. So what made me book a trekking tour throughout Sapa and live with the Hmong tribe? Insanity, that’s what.
I booked the Sapa trip at the hostel for 70 USD; they said it was for easy trekking. ‘It is just normal walking’ chirped the ever cheerful receptionist. Okay, walking I can do, plus I really would like to see the lovely sights of Sapa even if I have to exert more effort into it than usual. I opted for the bus because it is cheaper at 70 USD for the 2D-3N package, taking the train would mean I have to shell out 110 USD. I am a typical Asian so I can forego comfort over big savings anytime J
I was picked up at the hostel at 7:00 PM and was crammed into a minivan with a bunch of young Europeans (who are obviously backpacking and travelling on a budget since they opted for the bus instead of the train) and dropped off at the bus station. The bus was waiting for us and when I saw the bunk beds, I almost felt sorry for the tall Europeans. The beds are narrow and small, okay for small Asians (like me!) but pure torture to tall, lanky white people. Just like I said, forego comfort for 12 hours and save 40 USD.
Our bus was late so I only had 20 minutes to shower, brush my teeth and eat breakfast. I decided to let go of the shower because I will need at least 15 minutes to gulp a gallon of coffee to get me started. There were 8 of us doing the home stay with the Hmong villager: 2 French, 3 Swiss, 1 German, 1 Australian and me. The trek started innocent enough then slowly we were treading on narrow, muddy trails. For the life of me I have never had so much mud on me, and I am from the Philippines!
After 5 hours of walking on very muddy terrain, I hardly noticed the beauty of the place; I was just concentrating on putting one foot in front of the other and keep my ass safe –at this point I haven’t fallen on my ass—yet. When we arrived at the home stay, I finally noticed my surroundings, holy cow! Now I understand why some people go crazy and climb mountains for the view.
I was already breathless from the climb but now I know why some people climb mountains for fun