BootsnAll Travel Network



A Hmong New Year.

After Sapa I made my way towards the newly opened (2007?) Laos-Vietnam border at Tay Trang. It took a few days as I stopped in New Lai Chau, Muong Lay (the old Lai Chau), and Dien Bien Phu. Once past Sapa the mountains turn to more rolling hills as the road follows a river valley.

About the only thing I new about the northern part of SE Asia was that it was home to Hmongs. Hmongs make up a large portion of the EM’s in the areas around northern Vietnam and Laos. I was actually familiar with them as I actually grew up with them in Fresno, California. I don’t know about the specifics, but in the late 70’s a large population was brought in and one of the largest settlements was in my hometown of Fresno. I am guessing as Fresno is mainly an agricultural center right in the central valley of California, the farmlands would be close to what the people would know. Since I grew up with many of them, I found that it would be interesting to see where they had come from. It also won’t hurt when I go back and tell the younger generations that I am more Hmong than them since I have been to the homelands and they have not, just like when I go back and start telling people I am African (year and a half baby.)

While driving along the windy mountain roads, at the highest points there would be villages and it was most of the time the colorful hmongs (EM’s). Being Tet holiday season, there were lots of festivities going on and primarily the women and girls were all dressed to the hilt. I was kicking myself because there would be groups of beautifully dressed girls walking along the road but I was too focused on going to stop and ask for some photos. I thought I had blown it when I pulled up to one village and they were having one of the ball tossing ceremonies. I remember these from school when they talked about the ritual of marriage aged teens getting all dressed up and the initial meeting between candidates would be to stand in lines of males and females and play catch with a potential suitor. Coming over a hill I drove right into one. I stopped and took a bunch of photos as there was a local guy with a nice SLR taking photos and he asked me if I wanted to join him as he took photos. It worked out great as I was able to wander around without feeling like a total outsider. I was even offered a bride of my own but I had to bow out as Sasha couldn’t handle another passenger.

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A perfect over view.

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My potential wife.

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This was the info if you can read the language.

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Like most dances, girls hang with the girls and guys hang with the guys.

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They guys played this violent game of tops.

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From floor level.

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Playing catch for love.

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Younger girls practicing so they are ready when their big day comes.

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That’s right, forever. No more carousing around with the boys, no more late night partying, no more girlfriends, no more, no more, no more. Little guy is just not feeling the love.

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A family affair.

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A couple of generations.

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More playing ball.

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Break time.

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Girls checking out the action.



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