2/24/18: 61-Person Tour Group (And Me)

After breakfast at the hotel, I met up with my new tour guide for the day. I had no idea what I would be doing– the hotel staff didn’t speak enough English to communicate the details with me.

Well, it was something.

My tour group had 61 people. Yes, that’s right. 61.

All of them were Vietnamese.

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Beautiful morning

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The “group” …

As we made our way from town to Cat-Cat Village, I felt really annoyed. I HATE traveling with huge tour groups. And I was the only backpacker there. I felt like I did when I was 13, walking around with my parents, afraid of anyone catching me and seeing what a loser I was hanging out with my parents.

I didn’t want to be seen with a huge tour group. Cause cool people don’t do huge group tours. And I’m a cool person!

I kept telling myself that life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it, but I just couldn’t shake the annoyed feeling I felt in my chest.

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Approaching Cat-Cat

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Huge bucket thing for photos
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She was so cute

Everyone was moving SUPER slowly, and I got impatient. Once we got to Cat-Cat, I separated from the group and explored the village on my own. It was the most touristy village I’ve ever seen in my life. I’m not even sure if it qualifies as a village. It’s more like a big market with lots of food/trinkets/souvenirs for tourists.

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Lots of dried fruit

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Watermill things

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She kept taking selfies at the most random spots

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Candied dried fruit
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Mushrooms! Huge!

I eventually ran into our tour guide and walked with her for a bit. She was really cool and easy to talk with. She told me she’s usually guiding foreigners who are a lot easier to manage. I was glad that we were on the same page about the huge group tour.

She also told me she’s 26 and has one daughter. When I asked her if she wants to travel, she said it’s too hard for her because other places are too big and she wouldn’t be able to manage the stress of being in a different country. Her answer made me really sad, because she totally could. She just doesn’t have any faith in herself. Or maybe she just hasn’t seen anyone in her same situation do it, so she doesn’t think it’s possible.

I separated from the group again and walked back to town alone. The walk was HARD since the hills were really steep. I explored Sapa town– it’s a cute town with lots of cafes and a big lake with beautiful mountains in the back.

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These hills thooooo

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Market in Sapa

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Sapa town

I went back to the hotel for lunch. All the tables but one were occupied by big groups. I sat down at the empty table and noticed that the others were getting a lot of meat. I told the staff I’m vegetarian, and to only bring me the veggie plates in order to not waste food. Everyone else shared their plates with the whole table, but I somehow got an entire feast to myself. I’m not sure if it was because I was alone, or because I requested vegetarian, but it was ridiculous and amazing. It was maybe one of my favorite meals of the trip thus far. I felt like a queen.

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Shame that there is this huge bulldozer & construction site in front of the hotel

First they brought out fried sweet potato sticks, then two giant (I mean GIANT) bowls of rice, then a mountain of greens, then a plate of tofu with tomatoes.  I ate so much and I was so, so happy.

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I should have taken more photos. But this was my feast. (That bowl of rice in the back was just for me. And they gave me TWO of those.)

 

I went to a cafe to kill a couple hours before my bus ride back to Hanoi. I chose Le Petit Cafe, ordered mango juice, and read my book.

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hello lil guy

I walked back to the hotel and waited for the van that would take me to the bus station.

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Saw this interesting fashion choice at the bus station
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So many buses!

I slept for a couple hours during the bus ride. It was a pretty uneventful ride back.

I got to my hostel in Hanoi around 10 pm and went to bed.

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