Adventures of an American Seoul-Sister

Adventures and Observations of an American Seoul-Sister

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Sapa Scenery

The second day of my Sapa adventure led me through muddy rice paddies and down steep mountains to three different H'Mong villages and one Zoa village.  It was very foggy, so there wasn't much to see, but a did get a few worthy pics.

The trails were slick with mud.  I bought a bamboo walking stick from a little girl. 
In Vietnam, the kids start to work as soon as they learn to walk and talk.

The fog cleared after lunch, so I was able to take a few good pics of the rice paddies.

In all, our group walked about 25 km the second day. 
That night, we headed back to the night train and saw this funny traffic sign on the way.  NO CYCLOS!

It was an exhausting day!  Even the squeeeeeel and bounce of the night train couldn't keep us awake.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Cat Cat Village, Sapa

A couple of months ago, I got to visit Sapa.  Sapa is a mountainous region of Northern Vietnam, very close to the Chinese border.  It's popular among tourists for hiking, beauty, and meeting the native H'Mong and Zao people who inhabit the area.  On my first day in Sapa, I visited Cat Cat Village.

The native tour guides greet us outside the hotel. 
We walked through the rice-paddied mountains to Cat Cat Village.

Cat Cat is a humble village known locally for its hemp textiles.

This woman is spinning hemp fibers into string with her fingers.

The hemp string is woven on a simple loom.

The woven hemp cloth is dyed in a vat of indigo. 
The indigo produces a blue that is so dark, it is almost black,
giving this particular branch of H'Mong their name: The Black H'Mong.

Of course, they grow all the indigo themselves.

Cat Cat also produces snake wine.

There is a lovely water fall and river next to Cat Cat.

The local water supply is use to power this cleverly designed rice-pounding machine.  The rice is far below in an empty space cut into the side of a hill.  Water fills a vat that moves a rod up and down.  When the vat is full, it lifts the rod.  Then, the water spills from the vat and lifts back up, causing the rod to slam down and pound the rice below.

It was a muddy adventure!

Everyone goes home tired and happy. 

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Easter in Hanoi

Easter is not a much-celebrated holiday in Vietnam, but the local Catholic church managed to produce crowds large enough on Good Friday and Easter to spill out into and fill the courtyard in front.  Here is the church (at least the part of it that fits into my camera frame) with its Easter clothes on. 


Here's a craft store with a very unfortunate name!