For those of you who don't know what Sapa is, it's a place up in the mountains near China in Vietnam. We went there last week for school camp and this blog post is really just a recount of the whole trip. It prolly won't interest you if you weren't on the actual trip but anyway... Honestly, I wasn't really looking forward to the trip. I was planning on feigning a bad case of dysmenorrhea or something along those lines to get out of it. I'm not sure why I didn't want to go so badly. I guess I just didn't feel like going and because I went to Sapa last last Christmas and I hated it. Truth be told I don't even remember why I hated it. I wasn't sure if it was because I thought it was really boring and miserable up there, or because I had to spend time with my family. Maybe it was a combination of the two. Anyhoo that doesn't really matter now because in the end I ended up going on the trip. I didn't really want to miss out on camp because: 
1) After camp people always talk about it 
2) I didn't want to feel left out, this is pretty much the same as number 1
3) I was pretty sure that my parents would know that I was pretending to be sick
a. I usually chicken out when I fake sick to miss something as big as school camp

I was suprised because in the end I actually did end up having a good time. Yeow! Now I'll tell you all about what happened, in chronological order. P.S. 'Chronological' is one of my favourite words at the mo. 

On Monday we actually had school because we were going to Sapa by the overnight train. Apparently there's a day train which goes to Sapa, but who in their right mind would want to go on that? Although we were at school on Monday it wasn't "real" school, we just faffed about all day. It was just one of those days where you sit there and you wonder why on Earth you're at school because you're doing pretty much nothing. The reasoning of teachers and school administrator types is mind boggling. Well no, I guess we did do some stuff but I would rather have stayed at home in bed all day. 

After "school" Song My came back to mine because she lives south of east Jesus no where (Movie quote!!) and it was just much easier for her. I didn't mind having her over because well I love her. Nawh. We didn't do much. I showered and such and we watched Disney channel whilst drinking Ovaltine Yen until my mum came back from the gym and made us dinner. 
For those of you who do not know what Ovaltine Yen is, well it's just like Ovaltine but it's like a Thai thing. It's in a packet and you pour that into a cup and fill it up with hot or cold water, but usually cold because 'Yen' means cold in Thai, and stir. After some stirring you're left with a lovely chocolatey drink which has little rice bubble like things in it and it's all very exciting. Well mine's crunchy because we buy 'Ovaltine Yen - Crunchy'. You can buy it without the rice bubble thingamajigs in them but that just takes away the novelty, and you may as well just go drink Milo or some other chocolate milk instead.

After dinner and last minute bag checks Song My and I went to school. I thought my mum would be very weepy and would hang around a bit seeing as we won't be seeing each other for 2 weeks; I was on camp all last week and she went to Thailand this week, but no. All I got was a brief hug and a "Bye, I'll miss you!" then she and the driver sped off with out a backwards glance. Ok, I'm exagerrating a little but my stories would be no where near as exciting if I didn't exagerrate a little.

Eventually everybody got to school and we were all very excited. We said goodbye to school and loaded onto the buses which took us to the Hanoi train station. I have no idea if that's its actual name but meh. When we got there it was all a little confusing because we were a group of 57 exciting teenagers at a busy train station. I felt bad for the teachers tbh. After much walking and even more standing around doing nothing we got on the train. Yay. I shared my cabin with Song My, Eva and Sukriti. Yay. I actually like them so the train trip was enjoyable. We pigged out on junk food and mucked about for a while. Finja spent a fair bit of time in our cabin as well which was nice. Around midnight we decided to go to sleep because well we were sleepy, we had a big day ahead of use and the conversation was sort of dying. I fell asleep easily; I found the swaying of the train very soothing. I didn't sleep very well though because the train kept stopping and I kept thinking that we were there but then it would just be a false alarm so I'd start dozing off but then they'd play this really annoying horn. This happened about 4 times. 

The train got to Lao Cai at like 5am. Lao Cai is a town which is pretty much right on the Chinese border and from there you catch a bus up to Sapa. The train station wasn't as bad as it was the last time I was there. It wasn't cold and foggy like last time and the best part was it didn't reek of wee this time. Woot. The bus took us up to Sapa and to our hotel which was called the "Bamboo" hotel. It was really nice for a school trip hotel. When we got there we left all our bags in the lobby and went downstairs for breakfast which was alright. The pancakes were yummy. 

After breakfast it was time to go to our activities. Hurrah. I was in Group 1 and I guess we were the lucky ones because we didn't have to go on the hike to the homestay first. You have no idea how grateful I was for that. While we were waiting to go to our activity the Sapa ladies swarmed on us. They're so scary. I pinkie promised like 3 people saying that I would buy stuff from them. Later on this came back to bite me in the arse. I sat on the stairs with Eva and we eavesdropped on a conversation some American man was having with his tour guide. I love eavesdropping. He was doing the typical thing that people do when they talk to Asian people, y'know where they speak slow broken English and put on a weird accent. I've had it happen to me several times and then when I answer back in fluent English the other person pretty much shits themself. Anyway he and his tour guide were wearing the same colours or something lame like that and well here's the conversation:
American man: You and me like twins
Tour guide: What?
American man: You know twins...
Tour guide: No...
American man: I say you and me like twins. T-W-I-N. Twin. You know same same.
Tour guide: Owhhhhh! Trinzz. Yes. *(fake) laugh*
American man: *chuckle*
Looking back it's not that funny but it was 9am and I was sleep deprived and well I found it very amusing. For the rest of the day Eva and I would quote him whenever appropriate and we'd have uncontrollable fits of giggles. There was also a French man with a funny moustache in the lobby. I found this abnormally amusing too. I don't have a very good sense of humour.

After what seemed like 5 hours we got onto buses and drove to a local school. When we got there all the students were lined up along the drive and they were clapping and it was all very cute. We walked down the drive to the courtyard where we had a mini-assembly. The schools principle gave a speech in Vietnamese and we just applauded whenever the Vietnamese kids did. Then Mr. Healy gave a speech where he said the same thing like 13 times but that was okay because it was impromtu and most of the people he was speaking to couldn't speak English anyway. Then the kids sang us their school song which was sweet. Then we had to sing a song so we decided to sing the UNIS song but well nobody knows the words to it because well.... we never have to sing it except for at the first assembly of every year. So we just sang the chorus, some people didn't even know the words to that, it was okay though because nobody could understand what we were singing anyway. Then some of the kids from the school came and gave us roses. I got one, Song My got two being the promiscuous girl she is.

Then we got to work. When they said we were going to do community service at the school I thought we'd be cleaning up or planting trees at the most. I thought wrong. We were doing hardcore manual labour. We had to dig and hoe the ground. I was on the hoeing team but I was soon kicked off by one of our creepy tour guides. Apparently I was doing it right or fast enough so he told me to go pick up bricks so I did while he stood there staring at me creepily. He then came over and told me I was doing that wrong. I wanted to hit him with one of the bricks. He was a creeper. 

3 hours or so later we had lunch in the classroom. Sandwiches, noodles and fruit. It was quite nice actually. Then we had a one hour break. I went a lay in the sun with Song My, Eva, Sukriti, Joanna and Lena. I was so tired. What seemed like 5 minutes later Mr. Healy called us back over and we had to get back to work. I'd gotten sick of piling up bricks so I went and sat with Migara who was building a fence/wall thing. It was enjoyable; Migara provides good conversation. 

Finally we got to go back to the hotel and take showers. Yeow! It had only been a day since my last shower but after spending a night on the train and working I felt disgusting. The shower was lovely apart from the fact that it was freezing cold. I didn't really mind though. After showers we got to go out into town and find our own dinner and to buy presents for our secret friends! We were also given money for that! Yay. In town there was this amazing skateboarding man who was just like sex. However his skateboarding skills left much to be desired and he would've been even hotter if he didn't keep failing. No he wasn't that bad. It doesn't matter though because he was beautiful. Anyway I bought a present for my secret friend Simon. I bought Simon a cowboy hat. Hooray for cowboy hats! After only like an hour of shopping we went to have dinner. None of the other people in my group like shopping as much as I do or have the shopping stamina that I do. We had dinner at the English pub. T'was yummy. To top it all off they also gave us free hats! Ohohoh! While we were in town I also made a friend. She was this little 11 year old girl from a village. She came up and started talking to me and we became "girlfriends" and she even held my hand. She made me pinky promise I'd buy stuff from her and she was so cute and small that I couldn't resist!

When we got back to the hotel it was time to give our secret friends their presents. I gave Simon his cowboy hat. I couldn't really tell if he liked it or not. Oh well. I got a silver bangle/cuff and 3 lollipops from You Jin. I thought it was really sweet and actually liked my presents because those of you will know this: I love bangles and hardly ever am without them. 

After this I went back to my room and watched Disney channel shows with Joanna and Lena, my roomies. Even though I'm nearly 16 I still love the Disney channel. I was so tired that I actually fell asleep in my clothes while we were watching TV and had Song My, Eva and Sukriti in our room. I felt a little rude because of this but oh well. 

Got up and had another cold shower. I was taking all the showers I could because I had no idea when my next one would be. Wednesday was my groups turn to hike down to the village and stay the night there. I wasn't too excited about it because, well I think it's pretty self-explanatory. After breakfast we got all of our stuff ready for the hike. As I was walking through the lobby I looked out of the window and staring and waving at me was one of the ladies that I'd pink promised the other day. I pretty much had a stroke because I didnt think I'd ever see them again in my life. Eeeeek. As soon as I stepped out of the hotel I was attacked by half a dozen ladies, half of which I'd pinky promised I'd buy stuff from. I went and hid in the bus thinking I'd be safe there. Like always, I'd thought wrong. The ladies all stood at the door shouting at me. It was traumatising. Eventually Ms. Montero came to the rescue and shut the door. Then everybody on the bus had a giggle while I was still getting stares and certain hand gestures from the ladies. 

We drove down to a teeny village and got out there. From then on we had to hike. We were given plastic bags because we were expected to pick up rubbish on the hike with our bare hands. Ew. I only picked up two pieces; I was too busy trying not to fall to my death on the hike you see. The hike wasn't that bad but it was hard n some parts, especially for somebody as uncoordinated as myself. I fell a couple of times and still have scratches on my legs, but other than that I guess I enjoyed myself. I know. Ploy enjoying physical activity. I find it shocking as well. I don't really know how long the hike was. I sort of lost track of time. 

When we got to the village we were split up into our house groups. The three groups were The Girls, The Boys and The Koreans, and we were all in three different houses. Obviously I was in the girls groups. The house was comfortable and reminded me of when I go visit Thai relatives in the countryside. I was fine with everything apart from the bathrooms. The girls' house had the worst bathroom of all three and the boys had the best. I thought this was a little unfair seeing as they don't even need to sit to pee. Erk. We had lunch and once again I was reminded of Thailand. Then we had time to bum around and explore. The village was really small so we knew where everything was after about 10 minutes. I went shopping with Joanna and Lena. We bought food. Nomnomnom. After our break we went to the local school and played with the kids. They were all cute. They did a dance for us and there was one kid who got really into it. It was really sweet. We hung around the school for a few hours then we went to the waterfall for a swim. Yay. It was so cold but it was nice after the burning sensation went away. It was all good apart from the creepy tour guides. They were on a school trip yet they still thought it was appropriate to bring beers and smoke while perving on all the girls. Ew. 

Then we had dinner and went to a cultural show where all the tribal ladies danced. They wanted us to sing as well so Pia, Kaela, Joanna, Liza, Lena and I got up and sang 'Summer Lovin'' from Grease.

We were woken up before it was even light by a rooster. I didn't really appreciate that. The morning didn't really get off to a good start because we were grumpy, tired and sore. Well not everybody was but yeah. Breakfast was lovely though. We had pancakes with bananas, honey, sugar and tea. The lady at the house was so nice. I loved her. Using the bathroom in the morning was awkward. Joanna, Lena and I went over to the Koreans. Then we went to the school where we had to help fix it up. The girls were given the job of picking the rubbish up off of the field and then men stood around watching, perving and laughing. Being the crazy bra burning feminist which I am, I was very unimpressed by this. As were all the other girls I think. It was also just really gross because we had to pick up peoples' cigarette butts and other gross stuff. Picking up their rubbish isn't going to help at all because they're just going to keep littering. We should've done something like given them a rubbish bin. 

After much complaining we went back to the houses got our bags, said goodbye and drove up to the eco-lodge. The drive up to the ecolodge felt 5239087 years long because my iPod headphones had decided to break. When we finally got to the eco-lodge we had lunch which was nice just like all the other food we'd had on the trip and had a look around and asked questions. Then we drove back to the hotel in Sapa and had showers. There were only 2 showers for twenty-something girls to use. Argh.

Then we had free time. I walked around town with Song My and Migara. I bought a pipe which is more for comedic purposes than smoking purposes. I haven't found an appropriate time for me to whip it out yet though which has been a little disappointing. I also bought one of those psychadelic Sapanese hats for my dad. I'm pretty sure he'll babe it up when he wears them with his Fitovers. Anyway while we in town I saw my "girlfriend". I didn't buy anything from her and she proceeded to yell at me, swear under her breath in tribal language at me and tell me I was a bad person and that I had a bad heart because I'd broken a pinky promise. I was gutted. 

We all headed back to the hotel picked up our stuff and got on a bus back to Sapa. At the hotel and on the bus we were reunited with the other half of our grade. I don't know how I went 4 whole days without them. When we got to Lao Cai we were given 100 thou to go find food. I went with friends to some restaurant and had noodles. We sat next to a group of grumpy old French people who kept greasing us off because we were having fun and being loud. When we left they said rude things about us in French, not knowing that we can speak it. Humph. They were just jealous because their lives are pretty much over. 

We got onto the train where we ate and played games. We played 'Never Have I Ever...' which got boring after like 5 questions and we also played Black Jack where the loser has to reveal a secret fact about themself which was fun. Eventually we fell asleep.

We woke up before we got to Hanoi and it was gross because they'd turned off the air conditioning during the night and ick. To wake us up they also played this crazy earsplitting Vietnamese music. It made me want to kill myself. When we got to Hanoi everybody was groggy, tired and grumpy. We all said our goodbyes and took taxis home.

So yeah, that was grade 10 camp. I had a pretty good time for the most part :)

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