Sunday, November 28, 2010

Saturday, Nov. 27 Sapa to Bac Ha 100 km

     We left Sapa in a heavy fog and looked forward to going downhill for a long while. However, the downhill had many "uplations", as Nancy calls them.
      We cycled almost 80 km before lunch. As the terrain leveled out the scenery became familiar: tea, banana and pineapple plantations, sugar cane fields and lots of little "market gardens". The people were mostly dressed in western style clothing. We met groups of middle school-age students leaving school at 10:30 (had been there since 6:30) on a Saturday, very happy to greet us while they rode double on their bikes.
     In a village we saw thin sheets of wood drying by the roadside. Paul and I investigated the mill where logs were peeled by a machine into long sheets of veneer.
     Lao Cai city, where we're catching the train tomorrow, is very large and Chau led us safely through the traffic and many intersections.
     After lunch in a small town we headed up Bac Ha Pass which was described as a "severe climb", parts at 12 %. The climb was 17 km with a false summit before the real summit where the terrain once again became undulating, rather than a true downhill. All the heroes of 2 days ago did this pass joined by Nancy and Yvonne.
     Once in Bac Ha at the hotel we boxed up our bikes (the lucky ones who had rented bikes went exploring in the town). After dinner Chau once again gave the itinerary.....we have a busy day tomorrow....Bac Ha Sunday market (minorities from all around come), a boat ride to the restaurant, bus back to Lao Cai where we shower and change for the overnight train. Most of us bought silk sleeping bag liners in preparation for the "sleepers".
     written by Yvonne

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