So our final real day of trekking and it was probably my favourite day so far. We began in good spirits after overloading on chocolate and banana pancakes (as per every breakfast so far, but for some reason today they spurred us on even more. God bless our guides Tang and Tung.) The fact that it had been absolutely tipping it down the previous night and continued to do so throughout the day (not to the same extent as yesterday, but it certainly rained!) really brought out the best in everyone too! People walking along singing 'If you're happy and you know it', helping each other out even more than usual, laughing as we fell and slip-slided down the mud-slides of slopes, wading over rocks which had been drowned by water (where we ate lunch yesterday was completely flooded) and through a river (prompting me to exclaim 'Oh my God it's wet!'- a bit of a blonde moment there.) with our boots on (very clever) and race each other up tricky hills. In short we were all laughing and joking and generally having a fantastic time- I think the shortness of it helped too, and we arrived in Ban Ho before lunch. This enabled us to go to the 'hot springs', which were more resemblant of lukewarm concrete bath tubs, but they were a good way to clean off all the same, and my hair is no longer super-greasy. It's quite cool to wash your hair with the Sapa scenery surrounding you.
The walk did to the springs, however, did result in my stubbing my already blistered-under-the-nail big toe, which then came off (partially) and half had to be 'surgically removed' by John and Gemma- not too painful, it just stung a bit. So I now have another injury to add to my collection (woo!).
The rest of the day was spent being a bit lazy until we were provided with more gorgeous food (I'm liking the sugar-garlic chips, soup and then Vietnamese food every night) and we had a really positive meeting not a bad word to be said, except by Claire who continues to be constantly negative and thus a little irritating. Today she said that the walk wasn't long enough for her. I wish she'd just go with it like everyone else, and enjoy things for what they could be. Instead she seems to complain about everything and find fault in it all, and it can't be doing anything for her experience. Sometimes I just wish I could shake her and tell her to look around her, make her wake up to how amazing this all is and how lucky we are to be here. I do wonder what goes on in her head.
Anyway, dinner continued to follow the giggle pattern with Rishi and Tom Lyne having the six of us at the table in hysterics (the six of us being those two, Tom Webb, Vicki, Nathan and myself), creased up with laughter. I haven't had a stitch from laughing so much in a long time- I'd forgotten how good it feels, even with a pain in your side. Such small, juvenile comments, and yet they did so much.
The evening finished perfectly, with some Vietnamese dancers putting on a show along with Tang (absolute legend- I love him, his races and thumb wars with Josh, his Backstreet Boys obsession, his 'same same but different'). And then us, which involved 'If you're happy and you know it', 'Heads shoulders knees and toes', the Hokey Cokey, 'Angels' and Josh and Rishi doing 'ballroom dancing'. We finished up doing a Vietnamese dance through sticks which kind of open and close to a rhythm and you go up and down three of the gaps.
That went on for a long while, until the tape switched to disco music and Jack, Rishi, Ollie, Nathan and John danced with the Vietnamese women and skipped over scarves and made us giggle even more. Tired but satisfied we then slumped to bed: the perfect day with a perfect