I was up early and had breakfast at my hotel. There really wasn't much for me to do besides wait for Nicole to come back around 2pm. I was also in desperate need of updating the blog. I ended up just heading to a nearby internet cafe and working for a few hours. I could have used the free computers at the hotel, but the connection was very slow and they kept crashing. It wasn't really conducive to getting things done.
After a few hours online I remember that I was meant to pick up our train tickets back to Hanoi. We had booked them two days before but had not yet paid for them. The woman had told us that she would remember us and that it was fine for me to come today.
Of course, today was a different story. She told me that she had no memory of me and that she had sold the tickets we had put on hold, the only ones left were twice the price. Eventually I got her to split the difference with me so we didn't have to pay quite so much extra. I was there for about 45 minutes though while I tried to do this. What irritated me so badly was that she issued the tickets right there and could have done so with the cheaper tickets two days ago, she just didn't bother. I asked her why and she couldn't give me an explanation. I headed back to the hotel pretty irritated.
When I got back Nicole was there and I told her the whole story before I could even think to ask her about how the rest of her trek went. She had had a lot of fun and even had a hot shower at the homestay. That was pretty much unheard of!
For dinner we went to a restaurant that had a buy a drink get a free beer deal. The catch was that the free beer was Lao Cai, the local beer and about the worst I have ever tasted. Still, we didn't want to leave it and even switched to straws thinking that would help it go down easier. In the end the beer defeated us and we left it.
After dinner we went to the Hmoung Sisters again and once again spent a few hours playing card games with a bartender we nicknamed giggles. I don't think I should have to explain why. I headed back before Nicole despite the fact that she had been hiking all day and I hadn't really accomplished much.