Happy 12-12-12 Day! Best wishes of Good Times and Memories to all on the road and those who are planning their next adventure! Today my good memories come from Sapa, Vietnam, and this post has been scheduled to go live at 12 hrs 12 mins 12 secs :)
Sa Pa is a town in northwest Viet Nam. It lies in one of the country’s highest valleys at the site of 3,143 meters (10,312 feet) high Fansipan Mountain (Phan-Xi-Pǎng), the highest peak in Vietnam. The region is home to several ethnic minority groups such as Black Hmong, Red Hmong and Dzao. The tribes continue to live a very basic existence in the villages and come to Sapa, often walking on foot for hours, to make their living by selling produced goods. People of these tribes wear black or dark blue colorfully embroidered clothes and silver jewelry, but their headgear is different. Classic Black H’mong women wear decorated black fezzes. The Red H’mong women wrap up their hair in a red scarf, and the Dzao braided hair has a silver ornament sticking out of the top. The Kinh (lowland Vietnamese) never originally colonized the high mountain area; however, these days almost all the businesses in town are owned and staffed by Viet Kinh. The only trade the tribes do is selling handicrafts, fruits and veggies on the streets.
Sapa’s central square with ancient catholic Stone Church, built by French in 1930, is the city’s major attraction. Right in front of the church is the yard/live market, “occupied” by tribes’ activities, is a must go place. I will skip the story of the Church, but, will ask a question that locals and Google didn’t answer four months ago. Once at 5 o’clock in the morning, a few minutes before roosters start screaming, the church bells rang an unusual sequence of rings: 3 + 3 + 3 + 28 (total of 37). I was able to hear the bells very clear b/c my hotel was located next to the church :) Church bell rings originally served communities as a tool of mass communication… I wonder what this sequence of rings could mean. Any ideas?
During my two days trip to Sapa I rented a vintage Soviet motorcycle Minsk and explored the city and its outskirts. Also I’ve ridden to Lao Cai’s Red River border with China. This is my photo essay of the trip (comes in two parts). Note, I’ve already posted other photos from Sapa in my previous posts
Shared Souls. Portraits of Vietnam and
Portraits of Vietnam (Part 2).
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