So let me start with an apology for lying about where we are, we are actually not in Sa Pa. Our resort is actually about 15 km from Sa Pa and more important about 2 km below Sa Pa which makes that it’s also about 15 degrees warmer than in Sa Pa. This is a good thing as we are not prepared for below 5 degrees. Another interesting fact is that we are only 25 km from the Chinese border.
For some reason we make plans that include setting the alarm and this day the alarm woke us as 08:30, I jumped out of bed, opened the curtains and jumped back in to the bed. From the bed we overlooked the valley and the sunlight making it’s way through the clouds.
Today we are going on a 4,5 hour mountain bike tour in the area so we go for a good breakfast to start the day. Unfortunately some rude French acted like Russians in claiming the omelet chef and jumping the queue but in the end we had a good meal to start the day. Our tour guide was waiting for us and we were joined by a newlywed couple from Austin Texas. Ya’ll get on them bikes and hit the road.
We started with a nice cruise down the mountain and sidetracking into a gravel road that led into a small community where one of the 53 ethnic minorities lives. 85% of the Vietnamese population are actual Vietnamese the other 15% consists of smaller tribes. On our tour we will see the one of the five Mong tribes, there is the Black Mong, the Red Mong, the Blue Mong, the Yellow Mong and the Flower Mong. We also cross paths with the Thai and Xa Pho people. Our guide belongs to the Thai and is well spoken and has all the contacts to give us a tour even into people’s houses.
As we start going uphill the sun comes out and it doesn’t take long before we are all huffing, puffing and sweating on our bikes. Fortunately the lunch stop comes up and we can cool down again before we starting the last part of our tour. After feasting on more spring rolls we get on our bikes and as we pass some cute puppies the guide kindly informs us that indeed all these dogs end up as dinner. The dogs are no pets they are seen as live stock which protects the farm and once no longer capable they, just like the chickens, cows and buffaloes end up being eaten.As we paddle up to a local school I double check with our guide what the future of the kids is as at home some people treat their dogs as children. No worries there the kids will just grow up eating dogs.
At the end of the tour we are welcomed by a van from the resort that will bring us back up the mountain, a bit of activity is fine but climbing another 1000 meter elevation is not included in our idea of vacation. Back at the resort we recover by the pool, think about our plans for the coming days and after dinner we are ready for bed.