Trekking in Sapa

Market sellers in Sapa - photo by Rob McFarland

Market sellers in Sapa - photo by Rob McFarland

Teetering down steep stone stairs in inappropriate shoes and tight white designer jeans is a young, affluent Vietnamese woman. A multicoloured umbrella protects her from the sun and a private guide leads her carefully by the hand.

Coming up the other way is a young girl from the local Black Hmong hill tribe, dressed in an embroidered jacket and wearing the tribe’s trademark black hat. Her face is creased in effort as she struggles with a large basket of sticks strapped to her back. She stops to let the descending woman pass and they exchange a sideways glance that speaks volumes about the extremes of modern-day Vietnam.

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