Tuesday, February 26, 2013

SE Asia Day 19 - Cat Cat village

We were unable to get a train ticket back to Hanoi on Sunday night, so that meant another day in Sapa. We lazed around until check out time, then took a short, 4km walk to the town of Cat Cat.
Here is a better picture of a rice mill.

At the bottom of the village is a pretty nice waterfall.

Everyone says there is no slow season for The Sapa region, but we saw few tourists along this walk that was obviously made exclusively for tourists. In fact, the whole Cat Cat village seemed to be geared toward getting tourists to buy a hand sewn purse or blanket. There were stalls lining the paved path for much of its length.


Anyway, the walk was a good little bit of exercise and we had some nice views.


A few of the shops were selling stone carvings. One of them had some of the raw material out front so I took a look. This looks suspiciously like an asbestos mineral. Not a good thing to be carving with a Dremmel tool! I hope I am wrong.


On the way back we stopped at our favorite cheap beer joint where we had gotten to know the owner a bit. She said that there was a big market at Cat Cat yesterday. Arghhhhh! If we had known that, we would not have ridden 6 hours in a van to go to Bac Ha.

At 5 pm it was time for one last van ride down the mountain to catch our train. Drew was more forceful about where he sat on this ride. Knee room!


In Loa Cai we had a few hours to kill, which we did by visiting with a Dutch student who was doing anthropology research on home stays. He had some good information about the economics and impacts of tourism in the region. He also pointed us to the best BBQ stand in town. Pork on a rotisserie is shaved off and stuffed in a baguette with cabbage and then grilled. It was very tasty, although I worried about the fresh cabbage not being cooked. Oh well, we are nearing the end of our trip.


Our night train back to Hanoi at first seemed less comfortable than the train we took to get here, but it turned out to be quieter and rock less than the other, so I actually was able to sleep. Drew didn't because it was too hot.

Next stop, Hanoi again.


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