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Published: November 25th 2009
I'm off to China after I finish this blog and I wanted to get a quick blog off in case travelblog.org is blocked by the great Chinese firewall dragon. I've been back in Sapa, Vietnam now for about 9 days. The weather the first week was typical of this time of the year - cold, cloudy, foggy, drizzly ... The last two days though have been stellar - clear and "warm". One thing that amazes me is how many people remember you when you come back to Sapa. They must meet hundreds if not thousands of tourists a year and yet they remember details about your last trip that you don't. There were even people who recognized me when I was wearing sunglasses and a hat! It's kind of nice when you see someone smiling and saying hello.
This past weekend I went to the Bacha market and I can't believe how many tourists there were (500??) - all running around with their cameras thinking they're on assignment with National Geographic (hey wait, that sounds like me). On Saturday afternoon my friend/guide Sa and I took a walk in the country and ended up at a "house building" party. We
learned that a distant relative of Sa's was there which meant getting to know the family and drinking rice wine, lots of it. Luckily I was able to avoid it. There were about 50 people there and when the roof was put on (it took less than an hour) they brought in several tables and loaded them with food which the woman had been cooking all day. There were table for the children, women men and workers. Speaking of tables, Yesterday I ended up at a Red Dao "wedding" and I sat at the the tables with the women and children (sorry I can't get the photos to upload) which is good since the men don't speak a lick of English and my Dao consists of about 5 words. The actual "wedding" was this morning. Yesterday there was a feast at the grooms parents house. Later in the day the bride and her party walked from here village. I never saw her, she was "covered up" with a huge headdress and several umbrellas. When the party arrived there were two groups of men, one from the groom's village and one fro the bride's. The men chatted and drank rice wine
while someone was building the brides - um, covering(?). Next they all went into a small nearby filed where the two parties played music and walked around the bride and her party. This took quite a bit of time - longer than a Catholic wedding. One disappointment is that I really never got a good shot of the ceremony. I did get a couple of Red Dao ladies all dressed up with their best silver on. Speaking of Red Dao, it seems like I took quite a few photos of the Dao this trip - I only wnet out shooting on maybe 3.5 days because of the the weather.
Jumping around a bit, two days ago I hopped on a scooter and took off for the countryside and toured around for about 5 hours. The tour included visiting with some Red Dao who didn't speak any English. I helped some guys lift the hood (for some of you - the bonnet) of their truck - we barely got it up. I gave some old H'mong ladies a ride as well as a H'mong woman who had a little chicken with her. I stopped to chat with a road crew
- it was a very short chat.
I'm having troubles uploading photos and was only able to get a few uploaded. I'll try to load more later. One other thing, I don't have a RAW file converter yet for my new camera so some of the images are "rough". I am having problems uploading to my website too but I was able to upload a few photos. Here's a link to them PHOTOS
Mom, note the reading glasses that one of the Red Dao ladies is wearing. For everyone else, my mom gave me a pair of reading glasses to give to the women so they can use them to thread needles/sew. I also brought above 20 pairs to give away. The funny part was the younger girls would ask for a pair for their mom and say, "My mom is 60, do you have a 60 year old pair?".
I'll keep trying to get some of the wedding photos uploaded so check back in a while - well I stopped at an internet place on the border and I was able to upload a few more photos to this blog and also to my website - see
ps I haven't been able to log into Facebook (not that I use it that much) but wanted to say thanks to my Aunt Loraine for taking me to the airport
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