About one hour into our stay in Sapa, we were invited to our friend's wedding reception -- which we had to leave nearly right away for. Tadashi's written a very good description about this on his blog, so I won't try to be redundant. You can read about it
here (you may need to copy and paste the URL):
Since Tadashi's written about the party, I'll write about the walk there and back. It was 2 hours one way, up a large hill, then about half way back down. We stopped upon occasion to take pictures and rest up.
|Gom and her friend taking a rest under the shade of an umbrella|
This is the planting season for rice. Many people are either done or nearly done planting their rice. In fact, tomorrow Tadashi and I are going to Gom's house to help plant the last of her rice. We're really looking forward to it! All the rice grown by the H'mong is for subsistence.
Rice shoots are grown together, then taken up to be replanted for full-size growing.
|rice shoots ready for planting|
Before the shoots can be planted, the paddy must be tilled. Most black H'mong cannot afford a power tiller, so they use beasts of burden and a wood tiller. The latter is basically made up of large pointed stakes attached to a large piece of wood, which is then attached to the animal. Up here in the mountains, water buffalo are the beast of choice.
|Tilling the rice field with the help of a water buffalo|
The mix of fields with just some un-planted (brown), some newly planted (thinly green), and some growing (very green) is beautiful. The black-ish plants on the left are rose bushes.
There are many water buffalo in the countryside, and they are huge! I think they are beautiful.
I nearly got trampled by a startled water buffalo on our first trip, so it's not a good idea to get too close. But having a zoom lens sure is helpful. There are two types of water buffalo: white and black.
The local H'mong also grow vegetables and roses. The former is for both subsistence and selling, while the latter is strictly for selling.
Can you believe that was all on the way to the wedding reception? The reception was tons of fun, filled with about a hundred local H'mong and a dozen tourists (although we were the only ones that actually new the couple). Below are photos that I took during the drinking game that Tadashi talks about. Everyone enjoyed watching everyone else get 'caught'.
Some of the party-goers were too young to drink.
I snuck away for the bulk of the drinking game (which is why I think I didn't get sick like Tadashi). I wasn't the only one hiding.
The landscape around the house was so beautiful and photogenic.