05 July 2009

15 photos of Northern Vietnam.

My favourite photo from all of Vietnam. His silver necklace signifies that he is a member of the Black H'Mong hilltribe, the largest in the North. I love his little tongue sticking out between his teeth.

In Canada, this little guy would be a child actor. Look at that expression....

Bia Hoi - a bonus on the trip to Vietnam. Fresh beer served icy cold on the street for 20 cents a glass. Everyone wins!

Water puppetry is an ancient artform still practiced in Hanoi and the North of Vietnam. It is a little corny, a little silly and really cute. These are examples of some of the puppets used.

Mist rolling off of the terraced rice paddies in the early morning.

Sapa is in the very North of Vietnam at the Chinese border. This woman is a member of the Black H'Mong tribe, and was very persistent in her sales tactics. It was all in good fun - we sat and had a bia hoi with her later in the day.

Dzao ladies - another hilltribe in Sapa. They consider body hair abhorrent and shave their hair high on their foreheads. The different headwraps symbolize marital status.

A boy plowing the fields during our trek in the hills near Sapa. It is a hard life, but one that has some definite benefits over our own. Family and tradition are keystones of life here.

In some ways Northern Vietnam looks the way that I expect China to look. There is a magic and mystique in the air that enchanted me - it is a feeling more than an actual thing I can express.

I love the ruffled caps that the Black H'Mong put on their babies. This little pearl will probably grow up speaking 8 different languages and being able to sell embroidery in all of them.

These ladies knew damned well what a pinky swear was - but we educated them on 'sealing it with the thumb.' They made sure that he kept his promise the next day and made him buy stuff we did not want or need!

Watching a waterwheel in the small village of Cat Cat after an exhausting trek in the heat. This was a really calming, peaceful place.

I really think that traveling Vietnam with a baby is the way to go - you have dozens of willing nannies at every stop. In Sapa, the women could not keep their hands off of this fellow. We saw the family around town numerous times, and this little blondie was always in different H'Mong hands. They LOVED him. And it is obvious he loved them too.

In some places in Thailand and Laos, people dress in hilltribe costumes just for the tourists. Not so in Vietnam - people and children even far from the tourist circuit were in their traditional garb for day to day life. We saw these little boys on the way to Ta Van, where we spent the night in a home stay.

Seriously, kids are just kids. It does not matter what country they are from - they all act the same.

A lesson for all of us, I suppose.


Sam said...

How is the boy on the ox plowing? Is he just stirring up the muck on the rice paddies?

Other than that, the steppes are beautiful. As usual, I'm the unlucky one in the family who can't even hope of affording this kind of trip, even with your tips.

Violet Dear said...

The water buffalo's feet stir up the muddy goo and make it ready for rice planting.....

Some people also use hand held plows, but the buffaloes are way more common.

Asia is really cheap!!! I believe you could do it.

Sam said...

Hand held plows while walking through mud... well, at least you'd stay slim. :p

Since I got the job at the private school, I'll try and take a long vacation next summer in Australia, since I'll have the summer off. May need some tips by then.