So over the last 24 hours or so I’ve had quite a few interesting conversations with people. Starting back in Sapa, after lunch we headed up to the square as the sun finally came out and I wanted to sit in the sun to warm up. Sitting in the square makes you a target for hill tribe ladies to sell you goods though.
However this time I had a rather engaging conversation with a Man May a lady from I think it was the Red Dao (Dzao) tribe. She did try and sell me some stuff and I did bargain for something I saw that I liked, but apart from that our 2 hour conversation was really interesting. Plus she indirectly shielded us from others who also tried to get us to buy from them.
It was interesting to find out lots of little bits of information that I otherwise wouldn’t know. Like buying a water buffalo costs about 10 million dong (approx 540ish USD). Man May had water buffalo in the past however in Sapa because it is very cold in winter sometimes the water buffalo die. After having lost a few buffalo to the cold she said that they no longer have their own water buffalo as it is too expensive. Instead if they need a buffalo to help plow the fields they can borrow one from a friend for 200,000 – 300,000 VND a day. Or that the rice crops they grow these days grow to maturity in 4 months whereas in the past it took 6 months… Another interesting thing was her showing me the different type of stitching they do for their sewing handicrafts and the age groups that a girl starts learning a particular type of stitch as some are harder than others. We eventually parted ways as Man May was getting hungry. She asked us to wait for her to come back but we had to go get ready to leave for Lao Cai so we wished each other goodbye and went our separate ways.
Next interesting convo was on the night train. Met a Belgium woman who currently lives in Hong Kong with her family as her husbands job is in HK for the time being. Had a couple of interesting conversations with her about random things from her time in HK to her love of Asian food more than Western food to the difficulties children of expats face when moving to a country where the language spoken is not their native language.
And lastly, today we had two girls from Hanoikids take us out to Bat Trang and show us around. Got to play around with some clay and try and make something – have come to the conclusion that I will never be an artist of any sorts though. It was quite engaging to be able to talk to young locals who were helpful and knowledgeable about their city and country whilst also being able to share information about Australia and help improve the conversational and English skills of these two girls.
Oh and as for the froggy, took the girls out for lunch as a thank you and went to a Vietnamese place that definitely was more authentic. Froggy was part of one of our dishes and it did taste somewhat like chicken if not a little more chewy. Not sure if it’s my cup of tea though… Next stop crickets?
All in all it’s been a rather interesting last day or so and I’m really glad I had the chance to talk to such a diverse group of people.