Normally when people get “cement shoes” it means that they’ve ended up on the wrong side of the mafia and on the receiving end of a cement mixer.
In my case, I ended up on the wrong side of the flooded street.
Sapa, Vietnam – a city in the north of the country that due to the popularity of photos with rice terraces has had a bit of a tourism explosion.
The main activity? Trekking. And so, that’s what we did – through the mountain side, around the villages and rice terraces – in the cold, cold rain.
It was beautiful, cold (40F!), wet and muddy. Our ponchos did the job of keeping our upper half dry, but the water quickly worked its way from our shoes, to our trousers. All we could do was shrug and say “dry them under the hairdryer back at the hotel?”
All this whining is not meant to sound like complaining, on the contrary, it is meant to explain my frail mental state when, I, not paying any attention to our guide, walked on the other side of the street to avoid a car. Logic dictated that I then cross the road and rejoin my peeps.
My brain slightly acknowledged that the surface area below me was gray and not brown, and looked new, and maybe a little wet – but it was raining. So, then, in front of the villagers who had gathered to fix the road, I stepped and then continued to step into fresh, rock filled cement.
They watched in horror as I sunk into it, as though it were quicksand, undoing all their hard work.
And even then, even after I had ruined it, the people were nice (more on that later – people in Vietnam are the nicest). No one shouted our yelled, I just apologized for leaving potholes in their new road and while they did stand with their mouths agape, it was okay.
Never let it be said that I didn’t leave a mark.