So today was the last day of the
trek, though it wasn't really trekking as such as the torrential rain meant that Sweaty Hill was a definite No Go area. Consequently we ended up walking up 5km of road instead, past rather dodgy looking potential landslides, flooding and landslides which had already happened in the pouring rain. Quite a scary thought as you're sent one by one past potentially 'dangerous' sites and are told that a landslide happened as soon as we had all walked past one of those such areas (which people had had to run past because rocks had started moving)- nice and safe, there. Still, we all survived and cold, wet and shivering we eventually caught sight off the buses which would take us the rest of the way (but not before we had to eat lunch in our sodden clothing, making us all freezing!).
Watching the Sapa landscape beneath usreally made us aware of how far we had all come, and to the soundtrack of Boney M we celebrated our achievement. Never in a million years did I think I could do the trekking phase let alone enjoy it! But here I was, looking at the villages and pathways in Sapa, fondly remembering the events (or at least most of the events) from the past few days. The fact that I managed to do things I found really difficult- particularly coming down Sweaty Hill on day two- makes me feel like I achieved something, as it was one of the hardest, toughest things I have ever had to do in my life and I've had a great time for the most part. This was always going to be the hardest part for me, much moreso than anything mental, and I feel so accomplished now I've done it and have the muscly(er) calves and smaller hips to show for it!
Anyway the buses drove us back to Mountain View, where we got our boots cleaned and dried for 20,000 Dong each (just over $1!)- much appreciated- and had a shower- a proper, warm, washing with non-wet-wipe-soap shower. Even more appreciated! We then packed bags, bought
train snacks and had an early dinner, where we learnt that Tung's village (which we stayed in on the first day) had been affected by a major landslide, wiping out her house, which was really quite shocking to hear. A few days ago we were in that village, she was showing us the school and hospital, and now all that, maybe also her family, could be gone. It's so hard to even comprehend, and so sad that something like that could happen to such a nice, funny, warm person. Hopefully all her relatives will be alright, but John didn't sound hopeful when delivering the news. Sadly we can but wait.
Compared to that, the conditions of our travelling arrangements hardly seem significant. More amusing that we have a all of bags in the aisle an I'm writing this using my daysack as a table (not much choice) with John's foot in my face. Oh well, it's only for 10