It all started with an overnight train journey that will probably live in infamy for so many reasons. Krista decided to ride with 3 Germans by accident. Gill thought she had lost ALL of her undergarments. Kerri and Wendy were pushing Baileys like they were getting a commission. The two couples ended up partying the latest and longest. It was approximately 700 degrees on board.
Thankfully we arrived on time and had 3 hours to nap, eat, shower, and recuperate before starting a very intense day of trekking through the very intense jungle of northern Vietnam. This isn't your country stroll. There are no paved paths, no ranger stations, and no alternative routes out. Once you're in you have to get to the other side, period. 8 hours, 15 kilometers, and 18 sore and aching bodies later, we arrived by torchlight to our tents and barn attics to eat, share, and most importantly, sleep.
We scrambled up rock faces, we slipped and slid down the damp rocks of a river run-off, we crossed rivers, we burrowed through overgrown ferns and bushes, and we did it all in support of ChildFund. Our walk took us deep into the misty valleys of mysterious Sapa. This region is steeped in the history and culture of Vietnam's 56 ethnic minority tribes, each with their own distinct language, traditions, and dress. While the entire day was full of memories, I decided it would be easiest to use a list:
1. When a red fire ant crawled deep into Peter's shoe and bit his big toe.
2. Eating gorgeous baguette with cheese, tomato, and ham alongside a stream deep, deep, deep in the jungle.
3. Finishing the trek long after sunset by torchlight with Kirby, Catherine, Wendy, Gill, and Rachel.
4. Alexis' sad attempt at using corruption, blackmail, and bribes to get a daily "super star" bracelet.
5. The amazing stacks. Namely:
-Sue sliding down the side of a rock face on her bum.
-Dani clinging to Alexis' private regions in an effort to stay standing.
-Catherine bending her trekking pole clear in half whilst sliding down a dried out river.
-Krista face planting into a little stream only to hear Georgia, her daughter, offer nothing more than "my Mom's scream is so ugly!"
To bed now (it is 8pm) so we are sufficiently rested for whatever tomorrow may bring!