So I’ve now had a chance to explore Sapa. Prior to arriving here I have been hearing a lot about how the local hill tribe people are very aggressive about selling their wares. Thus far, it is mild at best. Although there is definitely a strong tourism presence here evidenced by all of the hotels in the center of town and all the “white” folks around, it doesn’t feel overwhelming. But then again most come for the weekend market and today is a weekday. So I don’t know. I think I also have “the look” – the look of “seriously, I’m not buying your stuff and I know your tricks!” look. Ever since Egypt I have noticed that street vendors don’t pester me nearly as much as the other tourists. All i have to say is it’s good to have the look.
Sapa is an interesting place. The local hill tribe people here are definitely sticking to their own kind. They do not speak Vietnamese but rather their own language. And despite the strong tourism trade (which they are benefiting from by selling their hand weavings and textiles) they still live on the farms. They don’t seem to have moved into the village here or are involved in the restaurants or hotels.
I watched the local police shoo them off the streets from selling their wares today. What a mistake. If they were not here I believe the tourism trade would dry up.
This is a photo of the Zim Air passengers wtih a local girl who tagged along wtih me for about 5 hours as I made my way through their farms.