Sapa is a small town in the far north of Vietnam, close to the Chinese border. Ever since the Vietnamese government have opened up their country to the west, money and western influences have poured in. About two years before I went to Vietnam, a friend of mine (Doug) who’d been there, advised that I go there soon as possible because the country was changing at a break-neck speed.
What makes Sapa special is that there are a few hill tribes there that have clung onto their culture and distinctive dress. Of course such sights are an irresistable magnet for tourists.
From what I saw there, with the pressure of increasing tourism and the prosperity with the head long dash towards the future it brings, I’d say that it won’t be long before the only place that anyone will see the Hmong and Yao people in their traditional dress with be at performances in large hotels. I can’t blame them; after all, it sucks being dirt poor. It’s just a pity that their culture is going to be swallowed up and absorbed by western consumerism.
I think the video below is a good metaphor, for the bland homogenous world we are all heading for.