Sapa is a wonderful place to visit for me however the best part was our interactions with the women of Sapa and learning a little about their daily lives.
The women livened Sapa up with their vibrant colours, they wore their traditional clothing from the various ethnic groups surrounding the area. They can be seen all over Sapa either bent over their needlework furiously stitching, chatting and laughing with their friends or often around newly arrived buses trying to interest new arrivals in their wares.
They worked extremely long hours, leaving home before day light, if they were lucky they would have a family scooter that would transport them. However they were often walking up to ten kms to get to Sapa to sell their crafts to help support their families.
I really admired how they embraced their work, their families and each other. We often saw them in small groups complete with babies in pouches, sewing and excitedly chatting together. Their laughter ringing out across the street as we passed. It reminded me of the days when my children were younger when a group of us would meet to cross stitch together, the difference being their craft helps support their families.
The most entertaining part for us was when a tour bus pulled up, there would suddenly be a flash of colour as they raced down the street to sell their wares to the tourists. The new tourists looked overwhelmed as these vibrant women showed them all their beautiful needlework, crafted into bags, cushion covers and other useful things. Some times they managed to sell few things, then it was back to work squatting on nearby stairs waiting for the next bus to arrive.
For me the highlight of our visit was our interactions with them, once they all realised we were not buying anything they started calling out as we passed and stopping for a chat when we were in cafes. We even were starting to point out buses as they turned up and they would run off down the street to meet their next sales targets.
I left Sapa with great admiration to their tenacity and entrepreneurship, inspired by their love of life and constant smiles and laughter.