|Shoppers on their way back from the market|
We were up very early on the morning in question and were downstairs in the hotel lobby by 7am to meet our guide. He turned up 15 minutes late to tell us that the driver was stuck in traffic and wouldn't get to us until 8. It didn't bode well!! However, the driver did turn up eventually and we retraced the road we had taken on arrival in Sapa. On that occasion, we couldn't see anything because it was dark and now we couldn't see anything because it was thick fog! Back in Lao Cai, we stopped for tea and a toilet break. We told our guide that we didn't need either so early into our day's excursion, but he explained that we needed to change car because our driver's grandfather had just died and he had to go home! After a further delay, a different car and driver arrived and we were able, at last, to begin the 90km drive to Can Cau. By this time, we were very worried about missing the market because a guy at our hotel (who we had chosen not to book the tour with!) had told us that it would all be over by 10am. It was already 9.15!!
|Water buffalo for sale|
As we neared our destination, we passed lots of local people in national dress, both going to and returning from the market, so we were reassured that we were not too late and so it proved. Having parked the car, we walked up a stony track to the market and lost ourselves for the next couple of hours in a riot of colour, noise and commerce!
|Flower Hmong ladies|
During our visit, we were blessed with the best weather we had in our two-week Christmas holiday. We didn't buy anything, but we did take loads of photos - you can see more of them here.