chillin' in sa pa (while ha noi blazed)

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);

and rocky roads to traverse on motorbike (though the wiping out was my least favorite part of the trip).

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).

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