Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Coc Ly | Report Seven | The People of Tay Bac

Coc Ly Market. Photo © Tewfic El-Sawy-All Rights Reserved
I had not been to Coc Ly market before, so yesterday's morning's excursion was somewhat of a novelty. Coc Ly Market is held weekly on Tuesdays, and is predominantly frequented by the Flower H’mong. While only 35 kilometers from Bac Ha, it took us about 3 hours to drive from Sa Pa. It's smaller than the Bac Ha market that's held on Sundays, and doesn't have its 'charisma'.

Sa Pa Market. Photo © Tewfic El-Sawy-All Rights Reserved

Returning to Sa Pa, after a quick lunch of Pho Ga and Bun Cha in Lao Cai, we were out for an afternoon of street photography. A drizzle was starting to develop; auguring heavier downpour in the evening. Unknown to me at the time, but Typhoon Kalmaegi would soon arrive to the north of Viet Nam, drenching the north.

In contrast to the ambulatory photography style I adopt while at the markets, I spent the afternoon in the Sa Pa market in one or two locations.  I chose a spot where I thought there'd be interesting foot traffic...adjust my settings,  pre-focus my camera (I used the Leica M9) and wait patiently for some interesting scene to develop.

Note: Typhoon Kalmaegi did indeed hit the region and I had to cancel our trip to Xin Cheng market due to reported landslides, heavy downpours and muddy terrain which could have made the trip unfeasible for our van.  Currently in Lao Cai at the Swiss Bel hotel...a new, modern and posh hotel, where we probably are the only residents.