Massages and buffalo

Sapa is at the northern edge of Vietnam, at the border to China. I am not planning to cross over into China though, they have tightened the visa restrictions so much recently that it’s not practical. I hope China won’t destabilize… They’ve arrested a politburo member recently.

Anyway, Sapa is high up in the mountains, and the summer is merely nice and warm here, rather than suffocating like in Hanoi. It’s a strange mixture of primitive villages of minorities (who aren’t given much of a chance by the Vietnamese), communist leftovers, and expensive shiny hotels, restaurants, and massage parlors for the tourists.

My room overlooks a beautiful valley covered with terraced rice fields and the shacks the minority people live in. The Vietnamese have set up ticket booths for tourists visiting the minority villages. There’s a strong feeling of exploitation that only the western tourists seem to notice.