Sapa 1600 meters

Trip Start Feb 10, 2014
Trip End Mar 08, 2014

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Flag of Vietnam  ,
Monday, February 24, 2014

Far North Vietnam.


Plans are only plans and "see what goes ", (Jerome) was a good way to adapt. I have been back and forth from Hanoi to Sapa then back to Hanoi and again back to Sapa. I have decided not to go to Laos this time and to stay with my friend Eddy in the small village of Tavan; 13 km from Sapa.

Tavan is a village located  a bit lower than  Sapa's altitude of  1600 meters. The Plan of going to Laos I  let go in favour to be with and assist my friend Eddy, who is running a bar, build a house, run a family, work with people who build his house and who think and reason on a very different level, all simultaneously.  Having a friend who he can discuss things with comes as a heaven sent for him as his only other connection with westerners are very superficial contacts through a variety of tourist who visit his bar at night.  I am living in his Eddy and Hi-en’s house about 50 meters from the Bamboo bar. So the last few days I am not a tourist anymore but just a good friend who is staying around for a week.  Meanwhile,at this point forget everything you imagine what village life is like as everything is and works different here.

I will try to tell you about this area but need to illustrate it with the attached pictures, where you will find some more comments.

The village of Tavan is just a series Vietnamese style wooden houses of simple design and construction strung out along a mountain track which used to be dirt but has been upgraded to a rough concrete “road” of about 2.5 or 3 meters wide. This “road winds along the side of the mountain and has various small side tracks leading to other parts of the village or to houses built on higher or lower levels. The house Eddy and Hi-en are living in at present (rented) is one of those typical houses.  The way in which they build house is  by building a wooden frame and filling the walls (where there are no windows) with vertical planks which are placed into grooves in the upper and lower beams. Easy right?- yes of course. But… after several years when the timber is totally dry, gaps will have appeared between the planks. In winter the cold wind enters the house through the gaps.(not a good thing) On the other hand it serves as natural ventilation as many people still cook on an open fire in the back of the house where the smoke disappears quickly through the roof as it is pushed out by the air entering the house via the gaps.   Eddy’s house serves a double purpose. People can come and stay there as a “home stay” for longer periods. The “Lucky Daisy Buffalo House” is  very nicely decorated with old tools and traditional clothing. 50 meters up the track you find  the Eddy’s Bamboo Bar. Forget the concept of “Bar “ for a minute. Inside a mixture of  nice new and old style furniture. Everything made of wood or bamboo which grows freely everywhere in this area. Eddy’s and Hi-en serve small meals, a large variety of coffee’s ,Hot chocolate and even Dutch apple cake (appeltaart), plus most alcoholic drinks and liquors. Most people just come  around for hot drink or a beer at this time of the year. The village of Tavan lies half way on the two day walking track through the mountains. (Trekking is one of the main activities in this area)  The walkers stay in a variety of home stays close by. The idea is that these people come around at night for a drink and/or a snack. The meals are served in the home stay’s so offering a full menu would be a waste of time.  Late afternoon Eddy sits on the verandah and great the the passers-by with: Hai Hai, Hot chocolate and appelcake!  and See you later !!

 The valley is the home of two groups of minority people; the Red Zhou and the Black Hmong. These groups both have a different traditional dress and different language. There are about 50 different groups in Vietnam, all with their own style of clothing and their own language or dialect.

Eddy is building his own house- and that is an entirely different story and deserves a separate page (really!)
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Rob on

Hey Richard,

Nice pics and pics of pics. :-) So, what happened with your motorbike that you've bought in Hanoi, is that the one as shown on the picture?
Very nice scenery, would love to visit one day soon....Good luck and enjoy!

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