Tuesday, February 26, 2013

SE Asia Day 18 - Bac Ha Sunday market

On Sunday, we paid $12 each for a van ride over to the village of Bac Ha to take in the Sunday market. What I didn't realize was that the van ride was 3 hours each way and that we would be with a group of anoying tourists most of the day. Not our idea of a fun day, but too late, we were on the van now.
The market was very colorful! This village is home to the Flower H'mong people, who wear very colorful skirts and shawls.
In addition to the usual chili peppers, vegetables, and unrefrigerated meat, the hot item at this market seemed to be sugarcane.
People were walking around chewing on it. No wonder so many of them have missing or bad teeth. Well, that and the fact that there are no dentists.
Piles of yarn are sold to be used to make the Flower H'mong clothes.
We came all this way, so why not buy a few things, right? Buying anything here involves bartering. I probably ended up paying too much, but I didn't have the heart to pay just $5 for an item that took 3 days to make.


Up the hill from the food and handicraft stalls was the area for trading or buying animals. Apparently, a water buffalo costs $1000 USD.

The stalls are under the blue tarps. Behind them was the area for trading small animals.
This person bought three pigs, which were being loaded into a basket on the back of his motorbike, kicking and squealing.
A lot of dogs and puppies were up for sale too. We think they keep the dog as a pet for a while. Then...
After the market, we were herded back onto the van again and drove a little way to the residential area of the village where we walked around in a loose group, peering into "the natives" homes and lives. It felt very weird. I tried to be discrete about how I took pictures.
They Flower H'mong live in mud houses. Up to ten people may live in a small house like this.


This house has a door with flags on it put there by the shamen as a blessing. The branch in front is a warning to passers by to not bother the inhabitants. It could be that they have had a death in the family or maybe they are just sick of tourists peering into their home.


Here is a woman making corn moonshine.


After our cultural tour, we got back on the van for the 3 hour ride back to Sapa. Ugh.

We stopped once in the bigger city of Loa Cai for everyone to walk a few hundred meters to see the Chinese border. Jean Luc was safe in my pack this time.


Of course, near the border is a major import market, so even if a regular sized car isn't practical for your family, you can buy a small one made in China and take it home on your scooter.


We were glad to get up to Sapa again and relax in our nice room before a tasty dinner ending with fried banana cakes and chocolate.


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