The second day in Sapa, I decided against going to Mt. Fansipan because of "lady issues"...terrible timing! Camping, hiking...with no toilet? No thank you....any other time and I'd be lacing up my boots!! Instead I went on a half day tour with a guide named Zoum to Ta Phin village where the Red Hmong group live...I did a bad thing and bought candy for all the villagers!!! Zoum was from the village and "guided" me toward this unusual behavior (not the first thing I would've done!) I was popular with the women...they kept touching my hair! I got to see an ancient cave tucked away at the end of the village. The poverty was just stunning...babies running around without diapers, children with split pants exposed to the elements...it was not warm here until about 11am when it got scorching hot but the ride over I could've used some gloves! I toured the entire village and learned a few things...like the beaded hats that the babies wore symbolized the sex of the baby! Some of the villagers did have cellphones, curiously enough....interesting dichotomy...does Vietnam have some kind of socialized cell phone plan or what? I did get cornered in a farmhouse by the women to buy their wares...how could I refuse? I now have a million pillowcases being sent to the U.S.!! There was one lady who looked wizened...absolutely ancient...she was only 60!!! She and I hit it off...she posed for a few photos...I'm just heartsick that I might've lost it!!!! I got to take some one-handed video too...while I was on the back of the scooter!!! It was pretty cool...Black Hmong men and women riding scooters down these winding roads...guess I'll have to do it all over again!!!! The rest of the day I wandered and enjoyed some culinary surprises...more of that wonderful French cooking! I was keeping an eye out for dog meat!!
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