Man, did Mr. Chi (Homestay Host) do a good breakfast? Even Jack Ross ate it... The morning started off with the usual dire banter from Mr. Carson but the Shrove Tuesday like pancakes made his jokes tolerable. We left with full tummies and sore ears!
The trek started off easy walking through more rural villages which boasted a vibrant array of gifts; however no one bought any due to an extreme exhaustion of resources from the previous day. (Ed. ‘Genuine’ Football shirts) The nice paved track soon turned into ‘a bit of a mare’ as the muddy slopes made walking difficult. This, quite comically, led to a few dirty bottoms as people slipped and slid their way to what were some breathtaking views. D’Arcy and Devine hit the deck more times than we’ve eaten rice with Jack Ross yet to fall #ourleader #hero. Mr. McMillan, thinking he was blessed with Mr. Carson’s extreme witty banter decided to continue his worn out joke of tickling people’s ears with a stick to mimic the bugs and flies we have to endure here (Ed. I’ve suffered five trips of the ear tickling!), He got me 3 times (Ed. More like five times Charlie boy!) today to my dismay. The women from the day before who were certain on selling us their stuff were back at it and walked the whole way with us. They made the slopes look easy in their flip flops while carrying their young babies! The last slope was rather enticing and as we sprinted to the finish and our lunch, we realised that there was another 25m which felt like 3 miles as the lactic acid built up. The mountain top finishers of the Tour de France had nothing on this!
After lunch, which surprisingly was not rice (some noodle soup thing), we made our way back to the hilltop town of Sapa, where we checked into our 3 star hotel, which to all of us feels like heaven after a dirty and arduous trek! There was then plenty of time to explore the town and have a look at the fake produce on sale. Auld Cliff thought doing press ups in the town square would be good craic, but it was fairly average… (Ed. Erh I think it was better than average Charlie Boy!) What happened next was truly worth the embarrassment of the press ups.
There were some Vietnamese guys playing football in the town square and after the superb Northern Irish performance at the Euros, we believed we had what it took to beat the Vietnamese once again after our volleyball success… The nine a side team lined up with D’Arcy in nets (debateable if he was there as you will see), Devine and Eakin at the back (some rather interesting tackles), Bell, Ross, Maine and Marrs in the midfield (Isaac is most certainly better at volleyball then football) and the dangerous duo of Stephens and Cloke up front. We had no trainers and were mainly in flip flops so bare feet were the boots of choice. The game started well with both sides having chances at our end, as our clearances may as well have gone backwards. The crowd had gathered when the locals knocked in their sixth, however it was clear they were only there to see the GAWA ( Ed. Green and White Army, apparently) take over. And boy we didn’t disappoint. Some slick interplay from the back led to the ball falling at Stephen’s feet (once of Whitehead Eagles), a raise of the head allowed the ball to be laid on plate for Cloke to bend one into the empty net. The cry of ‘Will Griggs on Fire’ went up around the now heavily populated town square. The game continued and at 8-1 to the locals we made the rather ingenious decision of saying “next goal the winner”. With 4 extra players from the crowd, we managed to string some passes together and get into a good position where a man strangely resembling Michael McIntyre finished an absolute screamer from 3 yards.
A great end to rather tiring day! Oh, and we got rice for dinner, we were all ecstatic!