Monday, May 24, 2010

The Great Northern Vietnam Motorbike Tour-Day Five

Like every Giro, Vuelta or Tour, our journey thru Northern Vietnam also needed a rest. So on this 5th day, we stayed put in Sa Pa, a hilly tourist town just south from the border of China’s Yunnan region.

Sa Pa was established by the French back in their colonial days to escape the heat of Hanoi and it has since turned in to one of the Northern region’s main travel destinations. Nearby is Vietnam’s highest peak, Fan Si Pan. There are numerous minority villages to visit here as well as waterfalls and rice terraces to see. Also being a major tourist attraction there are numerous western restaurants to appease a weary traveler.

We got here the night before and began resting instantly. We met up with the others at an Indian restaurant to have dinner and recounted our day. Kay, feeling embarrassed from getting lost earlier, kept apologizing. Mandy told the others about the epic ride up from Lào Cai. I was just too tired and hungry, impatient for my meal.

The others listened and said, “Don’t worry. Wait until you see the view in the morning. Your hard work has paid off!”

And they were so right. Kristi chose this great hotel over looking the valley, the mountains and part of the town. We all sat on the balcony over breakfast enjoying the incredible view, as clouds drifted in an out.

Great Tour-Day five from Linh Nguyen on Vimeo.

The hotel is built into this hillside with several terraces and balconies to lounge around on. They had outside as well as inside spaces. And in one of these inside spaces just as I got out of the elevator going to my room, I noticed something amiss. Not that I was paying great attention the night before upon arrival but definitely this morning there was something not right.

In this lobby hung three mannequins dressed up in local indigenous outfits. Yet sitting on the sofa below them was a belt. I was thinking, ”Heck, couldn’t the staff put the clothing back on properly after cleaning?”

A while later, Kristi with a sinister smile showed us pictures of their escapades from the night before. Mandy and I missed this because we came straight back to our rooms after dinner. The others though went out, had some drinks and decided to have a dress-up party. They were the ones that messed-up the displays.

You have noticed that I still haven’t yet mentioned the hotel’s name, didn’t you? This is done to protect the guilty. However, these pictures are for sure incriminating, if you know the location of the crime.
We will miss Luke, Kristi, Daria and Manu. The rest of the tour will be just Mandy, Kay and myself while they return to Hanoi on the overnight train.

So after an Italian lunch-we were by then tired of Vietnamese food, and a massage we said our farewells and they wished us luck for the rest of our journey. They knew we needed it!

*Photographs courtesy of Kay Okamoto, Daria Hagemann and Kristi Cruz.

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