Last week, Ha Noi was blazing hot. And the weekend was worse, with highs reaching around 40 degrees and humidity making it feel far hotter...or so I hear. Fortunately, I can't bear witness to the latter, as I was chillin' in Sa Pa, wearing a sweater and jeans (something I thought I wouldn't get to do till I return the the States), though I did don my swimsuit occasionally.
Sa Pa is a village in the mountains near the China border. It is cool, rainy, and lusciously green. It looks exactly like I expected Viet Nam to look.
It is home to amazing street food (including grilled tofu that will change your life!);
lots of ethnic minority vendors who will follow you around incessantly, trying to sell you their traditional cloth (they might even sneak up behind you in a restaurant and put one of their hats onto your head);
rocky waterfalls perfect for climbing up, swimming under, and lounging by (or for having a church service by, complete with communion of rice and water);
cheeeap hotels (though I suppose any hotel is relatively cheap when you shove ten people into two rooms);
This weekend, it also happened to contain some of my favorite people in Viet Nam. (I like the ones who aren't in this picture, too...this just happened to be a great one!)
So, you'll understand why I can now call Sa Pa my hands-down favorite place in Viet Nam (see, it even makes me look great in pictures)!
Seven friends and I boarded the over-night train on Thursday night and were joined by 3 more Saturday morning. We arrived back to Ha Noi at 5:30 am Monday morning, with just enough time for Hannah and I to snag a couple hours' sleep on cots on our office floor before our co-workers showed up for work--only in Viet Nam!
P.S. Remember those purple sweet potatoes I told you about? They have those in Sa Pa too (another point, as if it needs one).