From Vietnam To China


Day 08 - Tuesday, April 17, 2012 - Visit the Market in Cốc Ly; Wander Ta Phin in the Afternoon; Dinner in the Evening

Our day began early; Gennie woke up at 5:30 after a dream that she was going back to Lao Chai to teach kindergarten.

We had hung our hand laundry out on the deck last night and it was almost as wet this morning. The temperature was 70° and the humidity was 86%.

After breakfast, Lap and Cuong met us in the lobby and at 8:00 we left for our Tuesday adventure. We traveled back down the winding highway to Lao Cai.

At the city and junction of the two rivers that divide China from Vietnam, (the Red River and Nam Ti River), we traveled east to Cốc Ly. The road was very narrow and in some places only ¾ of a lane wide.

The curves were very tight and the traffic very heavy; a very frightening combination. But Lap did an excellent job negotiating the curves and passing slower vehicles to get us to the market at Cốc Ly.

We arrived in time for their lunch and as we wandered around the stalls many vendors offered us a taste of their specialties. Pho was the best seller along with rice wine. Although it was before noon, there seemed to have been much wine consumed already.

It was very warm and again the women were dressed in their heavy beaded and embroidered costumes. How they can stand the heat 87° and 71% humidity, we will never understand but it is the life they live.

We met back at the van parking area at 11:30 and climbed back on the road. Cuong allowed us to stop at a village cemetery that we had seen and admired. It was very interesting to actually see the customs he had described.

At Lao Cai we had a restroom break and looked at the bridge and the river we would be crossing tomorrow into China. It was the ideal spot to take a photo of the four of us in Vietnam with China in the background.

Our last stop of the day was at the village of Ta Phin home of the Red Dao tribe. We were met by a group of 13 women who showed us their community and talked to us about their lives in this culture.

One of the women demonstrated how she wrapped the heavy red turban she wore on her head. In addition most Dao women shave off their eyebrows and foreheads as this is traditionally regarded as a sign of beauty.

The women were told by Cuong to stick to informal conversations and to wait for selling until we got back to the van. They were good to their promises, but the minute we arrived back at the parking area, they battled for position to sell their wares.

Gennie did her part to help the local economy and as we waved good-bye at 2:30 everyone seemed pleased with their transactions.

When we got back to the hotel, we took a little time to summarize the day and sort the photos of these beautiful and welcoming people.

We all met at the Red Dao Restaurant at 6:00 for a farewell dinner with Cuong. Tomorrow is a travel day and we will be crossing into China. We packed our bags and reviewed our documents to make sure they were in order.

Accommodations: Victoria Sapa Hotel - - - Meal: B

Please see our Trip Evaluation -- Click Here -- A Complete Review of Myths and Mountains -- From Vietnam to China: Ethnic People of the Border -- Vietnam with Le Van Cuong



  Comments

It's interesting what constitutes beauty in various cultures.

Susan   April 18, 2012 - 8:48pm

I am really enjoying reading about your experiences! Would it be fun to read a book set in China for our June book? Will you be around on June 14 for our meeting? I'm thinking of Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See if I can get it.

Susan   April 17, 2012 - 1:49pm

I am really enjoying reading about your experiences! Would it be fun to read a book set in China for our June book? Will you be around on June 14 for our meeting? I'm thinking of Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See if I can get it.

Susan   April 17, 2012 - 1:49pm

Do you feel like giants over there? Its how I feel at Spath family gatherings sometimes.

Chris Luhring   April 17, 2012 - 11:32am
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Red Dao Turban - A Donning Demonstration

Red Dao Turban - A Donning Demonstration (2:08)

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Coc Ly, Young Family

Coc Ly, Young Family

Coc Ly, Elder

Coc Ly, Elder

Coc Ly, Pho and Rice Wine

Coc Ly, Pho and Rice Wine

Cemetery

Cemetery

Red Dao Welcome

Red Dao Welcome

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