Friday, 21 September 2012

In Sapa...Or Is It Sa Pa?


After a somewhat restless night spent on the Victoria Hotel Express Train from Hanoi to Lao Cai, we are now in Sa Pa...the launching hub for treks into the territories of the hill tribes such as the H'mong, Red Zao and Zao. Visiting minorities always carries issues relating to whether payment should be made for taking photographs of these very photogenic people. But I have no time here to go in any depth as to what is right or wrong.

However, if the Red Zao and H'mong seek to sell some of their handmade wares to visitors, I see no wrong in buying a trinket against taking photographs of their lifestyles. Having no need for the stuff they sell, I decided to buy large pack of biscuits/cookies for a group of Red Zao women, and gave it to them as an expression of 'giving back'.

That said, the Red Zao (in particular Mamei -shown in the lower photograph-) are incredibly persistent...some do so with humor and wit, while others do it less well and it becomes a drag. 

Notwithstanding these issues, the eventful day will be on Sunday during the Bac Ha market during which many of the hill tribes come down from their villages to the market to sell, buy, socialize and so forth.