Before falling ill I got to hire a motor bike for the day and head out to the surrounding areas and rice fields to find these absolutly stunning locations. It was a photographers dream and I loved being here as it was so calm and peaceful after the madness of Thailand and Laos.
After visiting so many busy towns, beach bars and beaches this was absolute serenity, the air was fresh and the rolling hills reminded me a little bit of home. At one point I saw a man chasing his three buffalos down the road, at the time it was quite comical! One of my favourite photos I have ever taken is of this little boy on his buffalo, he was so friendly and let me snap away.
After spending a bit more time in the town and around the beautiful Sapa Lake where the reflections in the lake was like looking in a mirror I began to feel pretty unwell. At first of course I thought it was something I ate but after a day in bed with excruciating stomach pains and after being told there were no doctors in Sapa I made the decision to return to Hanoi to seek medical treatment. Lets just say that 1o hour train journey back was probably the most uncomfortable experience of my life. Upon arrival in Hanoi, I headed straight to the hospital where I was quickly transferred to an International hospital and diagnosed with a gall bladder infection after around 8 hours of proding, scans, ultra sounds and doctors asking me a million and one questions.
I spent a couple of days in hospital with a bill that totalled $2,500USD before being told to go back to NZ and seek further treatment, which for once in my life I actually listened to advice and reluctantly went home after being away for just over a year.
Moral of the story: Always have travel insurance