A Matter of Choice

Sapa, May 14th 2010

In spite of the lack of privacy, Sapa was uniquely beautiful. Since I returned from Sapa I sometimes regeret the evening on my first day in Sapa when I just slept all through the night. I could have enjoy the night view of Sapa, go to the lake, the some night shots... But, then I got reminded of the vendors who seemed to be present at any tourist side. When I remember of that, I don't at all regret the evening through night when I just tucked myself in Fansipanview Hotel's cozy bed till morning. I wouldn't enjoy the night either. However, after a few days I would start to regret again why I didn't take some night shots of Sapa. This cycle went on and on in me until even 2 months after returning from Sapa.

I was grateful for the bathrooms Fansipanview Hotel provided for their guests who have already checked out like me. I welcomed the shower dearly as I could wipe off all the sticky sweat from my skin, and most importantly, spray the mud on my trekking sandals which turned out to be no good for trekking. The strong current of the shower helped spray away all the mud stronger than a brush could do.

I took rode on a transfer car to Lao Cai Station for 30.000 dongs. Unlike on the way from Lao Cai to Sapa, this time I was wide awake. We drove through the mountains which to my eyes resembles my own country a lot. Beautiful. Apparently I had fallen fast asleep on the way from Lao Cai to Sapa, because I didn't notice all the scenery at all. Our driver pointed to a man standing by the side of the street and told us that that man was selling snake wine. Hiyyy... luckily I didn't notice it. I'm scared of snakes!

My train was scheduled to leave for Hanoi at 9:15 PM, but there was only one transfer car from Sapa to Lao Cai which was at 6:00 PM. As a result, I arrived in Lao Cai very early. It was like 7:00 PM. I suddenly realized that I had only a few dongs left in my purse which won't be enough for even the simplest meal. I went to a small hotel and a big hotel to exchage my US dollars. They both offered the same rate. It was almost 1.000 dongs more expensive than the rate I got in Hanoi. What's wrong? Has there been are rebel action or something in Hanoi? Well, you know, that used to be the case in my country. I shuddred a bit.

After carrying some dongs in my purse, I headed to a restaurant near Lao Cai Station for dinner. Before setting for this restaurant, I actually went to a cafe, because I intended to have some light meal with coffee. Although I already learned from previous experience in Dalat that cafes in Vietnam only serves coffee, I thought that Dalat and Sapa is far apart anyway. In Indonesia, being that far apart can mean an entirely different culture. But I was wrong. I read the menu from top to bottom and top again. Nothing, but various coffee.

Chicken Curry? Wow! That's something special, I thought. I would like to know what Vietnamese curry was like as Japanese curry and Indonesian curry are totally 2 different things except that they both look yellowish. It turned out that Vietnamese curry also looked yellowish -- and also different! It was for me a totaly wrong choice. I hate cabbage. Even the sight of it makes me loose appetite. You think this photo which I took with my cellphone doesn't look enticing? Well, that's the truth, indeed. I'm capturing what I feel.

I spent 70.000 dongs for that and 20.000 dongs for a bowl of plain rice. In my country I could have a feast with that much money. Well, anyway...

When I passed this restaurant before I exchanged my US dollars, this restaurant was very crowded. But now the restaurant was quite. A few tables away from me was rather noisy though. The owner and relatives seemed to be having a happy chatter dinner. I went to their table and asked in English whether I could use their toilet. A young guy pointed upstairs with his finger.

"Can I keep my bag here?" I asked.

He just nodded and quickly continued on his interrupted conversation with his relatives. I left my camera backpack on the chair next to him and my travel bag on the floor.

On the second floor there were dinner tables also, but nobody was there. A sign said that the lady's toilet was on the third floor. On the third floor were several rooms. The toilet was clean. More than a closet, it also had a shower like the ones in Fansipanview Hotel. Hmmm... I think this will be a good place to have dinner when I come back to Lao Cai on the way to China in September. While waiting for the border gate to be opened, I can have breakfast and take a shower here. Only one thing, I better stick on European food.

Back downstairs, my camera backpack looked perfectly untouched. I said thank you to the young guy. He turned his head a bit and went back chatting.

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