Thursday, November 15, 2012

That's what real work looks like



When my tranquil mountain retreat in Sapa turned out to be less recuperative than expected, I got away from the computer and had the sort of really relaxing rest that involves trudging along muddy paths for hours getting burned by the sun and almost getting trampled by buffalo. I liked it a lot.

I've always been a farm boy at heart - my dad's a farmer, so I don't have to go back generations or anything. I love watching people doing the sort of real, practical work I would have been doing if I'd been born at any previous point in time and eaten my greens as a child. Though even if I'd been born in the 19th century I still probably would have forsaken the fields to write about ghost sightings in saw mills for The Cheshire Observer or something. Useless twat.

There are plenty of tribal vilages in the Sapa area, but Cat Cat (which isn't pronounced how it's spelled, sorry to disappoint) is easily the most accessible, just a mile or so downhill from the town. That would do nicely.


Cat Cat,
Sapa



I haven't done the research or anything, but I believe they named this place after their favourite character from Red Dwarf



I didn't bother checking out any of the other villages, which were probably more of the same.
I didn't fancy taking another package tour, and gripping tightly to the back of a terrifying motorbike taxi seemed to be counter-productive to the whole 'therapy' thing



The village itself is basically an extended gift shop.
Presumably these are actually homes or something too



To its credit, this place seems more authentically anti-modernity than most other ethnic villages I've visited in Asia. Though they still have tea towels with Angry Birds all over them, so it's not exactly Witness



In case any cynics have their doubts about the authenticity of these tribespeople up in Sapa's markets, you can scrutinse them going about their work in their natural habitat and take slightly inappropriate, unsolicited photos. I didn't take any more - contrary to evidence, I have some respect



Oh, except for that one. Look at him go!



Nearby Tien Sa Waterfall, which seems a little excessive of nature.
Isn't this place photogenic enough already? You're just showing off now



Cat Cat cat



Well I don't know about you, but I'm relaxed


(Northern) Vietnam route map




A Hanoi
B Ha Long Bay
C Sapa


I'll come back and do the south some time. Maybe I should have stayed in Sapa about five years longer.



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