Saturday, 18 June 2016

The 15 Day trip to Vietnam - The Mandarin Route - Day 10 (morning and early afternoon) - Heading North towards Hoa Binh; visit of a rural market on the way; lunch at a small village in the Mai Chau Valley - The 27th of May 2016

We had a long driving day ahead but were nevertheless allowed to stop on a rural on the side of a road type of market, which we all appreciated not only because we needed to walk for a while but also because of the different approach one has to a country and how much one can learn with them. We had heard that Vietnamese ate dog meat though we had not seen it until then. Local peaches looked like "our" apples and the rambutans looked incredibly nice. 

We had been told we'd be eating at one of the villagers' and watching some traditional folk dances so I once agin took my filming camera leaving the other one on the bus, which I regreted later because I am sure I would have taken a lot more photos.

As we approached the village stopping point a group of white Thai villagers, all of them women, surrounded the bus and tried to drag us out, which initially seemed rather strange and could even be interpreted as a slightly aggressive type of welcome until we realised that each lady who had aproached a person or a couple would expect him, her or they to later visit her house and buy some of the handicraft goods she had to sell. I could also see several Hmong old ladies coming towards us to sell us some of their goods as well.

We had lunch at a hugely large homestay though prior to it we were presented with some traditional Thai music and dance. The dancers moved swiftly on the wooden beamed floor carrying their traditional instruments with them. To finalise they put on a show of communal dance/ jump on bamboo  bemas geometrically spread on the floor and taught us to dance it in pairs. We also had the opportunity to try the local alcohol (ruou can) which was drunk communally from large jars through long bamboo straws.

By the time we left the house we had been eating at and were granted half an hour to accompany the ladies who had "chosen" us upon arrival I realised "mine" wasn't waiting for me so I chose soemone instead and ventured into her home. I met her family and ended up buying her two  traditional embroidered bags. 

As I was walking down the wooden stairs the initial lady was there and so I ended up going into her house and buying her three extra bags as well. She kindly offered me a banana and a local straw made fan because she knows I didn't negotiate the price of the goods, which I could have but felt handicraft should be justly paid for (according to my judgement).

I believe the genuine approach on the part of the locals and the beauty of the villages around might be spoiled within a few years like most places "invaded" by tourism. We were still lucky, I feel.

The long 300 kilometre drive we had to cover during the day continued through paddy rice fields and breathtaking landscapes (amongst the nicest I had seen), which we were not able to capture in images because the guide didn't allow us any stops once we still had a Temple to visit and  we had to try to get there before it closed.

No comments:

Post a Comment