From the Gate of Heaven Down

Sapa, May 13th 2010

Here are Mr. Quan (left), my driver, and Mr. Hiep (right), my tour guide, on the so called "Gate of Heaven". Beneath there was just like a valley filled with some fog.

You can see what the mountains here are made of. Solid lime? But the next day when I took the trekking tour, on a certain area, the stones underneath my feet were glittering under the sunshine. Seemed like marble.

But you also can see that these winding roads were actually curved out of the mountains... and just recently. I name this photo "Sapa Path Finder". That's the name of the travel agency that brought me here. They certainly had choose the best name, indeed!

Down there are the villages of several ethnic minorities, such as the Tai, Dao, Hmong, and Tay. Do you see the white spots there? That's one of the villages.

It wasn't cold at that time, but I wonder whether it is at night. Especially during winter. This seem like the bottom of a deep, deep valley to me.

All the houses are built on stilts. I captured this house actually not because of the stilt, but because of the satellite disc the house has. It was like when I was on the way from Mui Ne to Da Lat last December. Although the houses looked poor, satellite discs were hanging on every house. In my country, if you live in a house like this, you probably won't afford a satellite disc.
By the way, I also like the pots hanging under the other side of the roof.
Again I start to wonder. Is it cold inside here at night?

Mr. Hiep took me inside one of the villager's house. There was a young man making a plow.

... and some kids I met on the street. Is the smaller one a girl or a boy?

I had lunch in Mr. Quan's brother's house. From left to right: Quan, Hiep, Hoang, Hoai. Hoai is Mr. Hoang's daughter. Not long after, Mr. Hoang's mother came. Although she wore wrinkles, she really was pretty. I think she looked like Hoai when she was young. Silly me, I forgot to take another picture when she came. Probably I was too hungry already... hahaha.

You know what, it was Mr. Hoang who prepared the meal. I like the way it's not too oily nor too spicy. Perfect seasoning, I would say.

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