Sunday, July 15, 2007
Sapa and Hill Tribe Villages, Day One
Arrived here in Sa Pa around 6:30 this morning by night train from Hanoi, and after breakfast I headed out into the steep, mist-covered hills terraced with rice fields in a steady rain with my guide. I am the only one on this particular tour, so it was just the two of us making our way along the muddy track among, meeting the occasional water buffalo and hill-tribe villager along the way. It was magical and wondrous -- and very, very wet, a welcome respite from Hanoi's heat, I might add. In an hour or so I'm going back out with my guide Thanh on his motorbike to go see some off-itinerary sights (we made a little side deal). We walked through villages of both the Black Hmong and Red Dzao people, both of whom dress in elaborately layered and embroidered outfits. I saw women hand dyeing the cloth from the indigo planted in their fields (Thanh thought the dye smelled worse than the water buffalo dung. I disagreed). I also saw two women spinning and weaving the cloth by hand and foot treadle. Will try to get some pictures up soon.