February 4, 2009

Day 020 : Sapa

I took a night train to Sapa last night. This morning I arrived at Lao Cai Station at 5am. From there I took public transportation to the mountain village of Sapa. It was very cold and very foggy!

It was a bit intimidating at first, but Dong, a local guide lead the way and soon we were on the right trail. Today (me, Amy, Alex, Valeria, and Ivan) trekked down the hills deep into the valley through several minority villages. Tomorrow we will continue our trek out of the valley back towards Sapa. The muddy trail wound through the beautiful hills and rice terraces.

Along the way I was able to see how the locals work and live (both of which primarily revolve around rice and livestock). The architecture was incredibly simple yet seemed to work well. As I suspected, all of the spaces were constructed with natural materials found from the landscape.

The steep terrain of Sapa and its surrounding village provides plenty of gravity for natural irrigation systems. Most of the homes have large collection wells like the one seen below. When preparing food, washing dishes and clothes, etc. the people transfer water from the large storage into smaller bowls (seen at the base). Any excess water, food scraps, etc. are tossed on this concrete (or stone) surface, then washed away at the end of each use. Bamboo is used for most of the irrigation systems.

This was the eerie situation I found myself in when I stepped off the overnight train and waited for my Mini-Bus to Sapa. Imagine waking up to these blairing speakers every morning!

1 comment:

  1. Those villages are very 'city of lost children'-esque.