Quiet supa

Get to the sapes (Shaves) from Moscow is not easy. After a 9-hour flight to Hanoi, another 400 kilometers should be overcome: at the beginning, the night train to the city of Lokay, and from there to climb up the mountain serpentine on the car or bus, in the end to find out at an altitude of 1,600 meters above sea level. By the way, this road was built only 10 years ago, and before the sappa could only be hit on foot.

Stress on the high speed ride on steep mountain roads is compensated by the beauty of these places, which are often allegorically called the Tonkin Alps (under the thinner used to be intended for the North District of Vietnam). The slopes of the mountains completely "Rubbed" rice terraces, but they look like "Steps" Rather, as a work of nature, rather than the man-made agricultural land, where local residents work yearly and in the sweat of the face.

  • Home Sapee Street (Photos Valery Alekseeva)


Ancient Sap opened the world in the XIX century French. Tired haunoic "Bay", They are the first to appreciate the local mild climate and mountain air. In the early 40s of the last century, there were already about 200 villas in colonial style. True, now it is impossible to see them. In 1954, after the victory in Dieenbienf, the Vietnamese rebels erased with the face of their land all the occupying heritage, except for one building, which later became the summer residence of the General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam. However, a quarter of a century later, she was destroyed during the Chinese invasion.

Recently, new on the place of former luxury buildings appear new. True, residential buildings "Montagnarov", that is "Mountains", as the French residents nicknamed, among the buildings, there are still few. As a rule, these are hotels, restaurants or souvenir benches. Chief, if not the only one, the source of income from the local townspeople, mostly vietov, – tourism. And most of the colors are Hmong and CJSC – still live in rural areas. In the 1960s, these naive, far from politics children of nature served to the Americans conductors on the gorges and jungle. Why subsequently and paid. After withdrawing from Vietnam US troops, thousands of peasants were destroyed by a special service, similar functions with our sidentil. But despite this more than a sad lesson for communicating with foreigners, the local population continues to treat them very welcome. And this is understandable, because in addition to agriculture, the main source of their income is the trade of various kinds of crafts. The most fortunate occupied places in the city market. Everything is for sale: from the songbirds to the local delicacy – long sticks of sugar cane, which need to be cleaned, to then, smashed by teeth, suck out sweet juice. The same places on the market did not get, flocks roam the streets of the soups and, choosing a sacrifice, persecuted until the potential buyer hits the doors of the hotel.

By the way, the market is not only the main shopping point in the city. On holidays, he turns into a kind "club dating", where from all the villages who want to marry. In-depth marriages are not welcome here, and there is no national retail, so the girl from any tribe can become the elect. Short and colorful period of dating, when young look after each other and try to impress – perhaps the most exciting moment in a serious family creation process. Further – everything is predictable: collusion, sharing gifts and wedding. If lovers are from poor families, then by the consent of the parents, they can be engaged in secret – by rite "High Pu", However, then they will be deprived of this little holiday. Then weekdays are coming, and they are all the same. Idleness here is not welcome and not practiced. Literally the next day after the ceremony, the young together with everyone go to work in rice fields, wearing a bamboo brushwood and collect all sorts of nature gifts, suitable for food – from berries and herbs to frogs and snails.

"Multicolored" Hmong

Once a meo (such a name is given in dictionaries), or, as they call themselves, Hmongs ("people"), lived on their historical homeland – in China. Until the end of the I millennium, they entered the Miao-Yao language group, known in Chinese Literature as Man. To get away from the space based, they forced territorial oppression by the imperial power. So I had to master the mountain areas of Indochina since the XIII century. Gradual resettlement continued until the beginning of XX. Many exiles settled in the neighboring Laos. In the 60s of the last century, under the leadership of General Wang PJSC, they even fought with local communists for creating their own state, but were defeated and new attempts were not undertaken. Hmong, who came to Vietnam, were not so ambitious and peacefully got along with the emails. It is believed that there are about half a million of them here, although someone can hardly vote for the accuracy of this figure: no one has ever spent the official census of the population.

Despite ethnic unity, representatives of different groups of Hmongs externally differ among themselves. First of all coloring clothes. The names of tribal associations, respectively, are given on the dominant shade: "White", "blue", "Black" and even "Colored". Their settlements are located quite far from each other, residents are among themselves except in the city market and due to differences in dialects sometimes can hardly explain with each other.

Quiet supa

The most numerous hmonters – black. The way of their life is very simple. They are not spoiled by civilization and live predominantly by natural economy: eating rice, corn, and collected in the foothills of the bamboo and herbs harvested in the foothills, wear self-made clothes from local flax. To paint them in the prescribed exine-black color, use leaves and flowers of the plants of cham, in the solution of which you need to withstand the canvas for a long time. Dreamers can be found immediately – by the paint-powered paint. To buy something else that it is difficult to produce, women sell embroidery and decorations, and who dreamed – and opium. Of course, the drug trafficking is persecuted by the state, but it is not possible to negotiate this evil: poppy plantations are divided into hard-to-reach jungle – what authorities will get to them? In one village we saw an elderly woman, who, no one shy, right at the entrance to their dwelling. Moreover, the envy of us, she jackets, inviting you to join. We asked our spent, whether it is not afraid of responsibility for violating the law. "No, "he replied," she is old, she is already hard to work on rice fields, and if that, in prison it will only be better".


In another mountain village, red CJSC live. However, they call themselves again and otherwise – "Kim Mieen", that is "People from forests at the foot of the mountains". CJSC – also people from China, where, by the way, most of them live today. And here, too, we are confronted with several ethnic subgroups with their distinguished signs. Only this time it is not a color of clothing, but decorations and embroidery pattern.

All women of this people wear something bright red on their heads. Some – Türbans, Stamps reminiscent of peonies, others are tied with shawls, in brush whose coins, bells, metal stripping. Local fashionists are very likely to decorate and, without sorry their own heads and neck, we carry them literally kilograms. For those who are more accurate, they are silver, the rest – tin. In addition, at all you will see Sarong – a long narrow skirt, and on top of it – an embroidered apron. Finally, many CJSC pluck eyebrows and shave the hair on the head. Used to do absolutely everything, but today this tradition goes into the past. Men are dressed very simple and are somewhat lost against the background of their colorful girlfriends.

Despite the fact that the living conditions of Hmongs and CJSC, in general, the same, the second more educated. Based on the writing of the subway, they created their own option – Mien, where the hieroglyphs look like Chinese, but they have a different meaning. In each village there is a school, where from recently everyone is learning English. To myself, ZAO proudly say: "We sell, not begging how some Hmongs do it". And you can’t argue with it. Principle "Goods – Money" They visually demonstrated. One of the local residents as a gratitude for agreed to pose, the photographer Valery Alekseev gave 2 dollars. It was seen by her batch and, despite the fact that she turned out to be the wife’s heads of the village, fell asleep by reproach. Not sustained "Friendly court", She caught up Valeria and put on his hand braided bracelet. Justice enthusiasm.

But still, despite some "Moral superiority" Over Hondong, the life of the Red CJSC is also just arranged. Main occupation – agriculture. They are painstakingly cut down on the slopes of the terraces of the mountains, where they grow a year for two crop rice. In the villages bred domestic cattle and birds. True, the meat on their table is rare, but no one regrets the spirit and ancestors of the valuable products as sacrifices. In every house hangs cherished "Memo" In the form of a piece of fabric or paper, where the whole pantheon of spirits is depicted with "Sedovlasm Divine Starter" at the head. These images are caught as an eye from the Oka and are inherited, and to part with them agree only in the most difficult times – similar relics are in demand among rare collectors.

In addition to the help of the spirits, CJSC counts on the aid of ancient medicine. For men’s power, it provides for a set of herbs with dried gecko, and for female beauty – with wood mushrooms.

And how much will last like that "Archaic" existence on the lap of nature is unknown. Recently, Vietnam is confidently taking a course on massive tourism. And despite the remoteness and inaccessibility of the mountain sap, it is unlikely to be able to stay away from this process.

Quiet supa

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