Day 23 Sapa

Today when we woke up, it was pissing down with rain. As we are high up, the clouds were all around us. We were tossing up whether to go on the trek, but Mai phoned and we said yes. So we met Mai and Chi at 9am. They were talking to a tourist which had me wondering if they were gathering a big group but it just was the one girl. We headed off to the market where they asked for some suggestions for lunch. We went for beef and tofu. They also wanted us to try bamboo.
Then we started the trek.
The girl was Manu, a social worker from France who had arrived in Sapa at 8am and phoned Chi on the recommendation of a friend.
We walked a lot and admired the scenery before arriving at Lau Chia village for lunch. Along the way we had seen some major infrastructure development and at the village we stopped at what may have been a new community centre. Lunch was prepared and was delightful. Way too much food. The bamboo was served with mushrooms and was great.
After lunch, we visited a little building where local work can be seen. There was a water mill hulling rice, indigo dying, weaving, a rice mill and I had a go on the local bamboo instrument. On to a distillery where I sampled the rice wine and then a visit to the school.
We walked through a couple more villages and arrived at the gift shop. It was time to buy from Mai and Chi. They started by giving us some small gifts. Then the Responsible Adult started negotiations and bought a few bits. Her main prize was a skirt that will be hung on a wall at la studio. My main prize was Chi’s necklace also to be a wall hanging. The Responsible Adult got it for$60. Starting price in the market was$100 for a far less impressive piece. Then I took Mai aside and gave her $40US for the tour with her decision as to what Chi would get. Mai and Chi had a small discussion but after Mai told me that she had split it. Then we got more gifts and the Responsible Adult bought one more cushion cover.
Time to say goodbye. Manu was heading off with Chi for a homestay. We got the minibus back to Sapa.
At cocktails we said goodbye to Jackie from Oz as she was heading back to Hanoi.
Cocktails and dinner were odd.We ordered some things we had before were different by a long way and the chicken with curry sauce came without sauce. When we asked we were told that there was no sauce. Hmmm.

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