I love Sapa not because of the cool weather, but because in Sapa I can see the different ethnic minority cultures living with each other in peace. One thing which really surprised me was that most of the young minority girls get married when they are really young. I talked to many different girls
and ladies selling their handicrafts and most of them have a few kids at just 20 years old. It's difficult to imagine how they can possibly have a decent life when they have to be constantly concerned with selling their products to earn their daily income which is so dependent on tourists' moods.
Most of the minority women selling handicrafts speak English quite well and with western accents which amazed me, and of course, they also can speak Vietnamese but sometimes not really well. They were teasing me heaps when I was there and most of the time I told them I am from Singapore but they didn't believe me.
Most tourists try to help them out by buying something BUT when you buy from one girl, a few minutes later, ten other sellers will come and stand around trying to show you whatever they have. "You buy from her, not from me, it's not fair" or "You took photos of me then you should buy something from me" are common complaints. Some of them are really agressive in the way they speak and they try to put their products on your body and also they give a very high price. I have practiced my shopping skills heaps before here, so I bargain really well but always give them some extra at the end.
To be continued
Labels: Frustrations, Sapa, Shopping, The North, Travel