We decided to go for a walk to Cat Cat village. As we went through Sapa, two H’Mong women came up to us to ‘remind’ us that we had promised to buy from them. I don’t know that we did as we are rather careful about promises and will always try to keep them. In any case, I pointed out to them that we had a lot of H’Mong stuff. Further, I suggested that I was about to send the Responsible Adult to the square with all our stuff so that she could start selling some to tourists.
We agreed to look at their bags, wall hangings and so on but just kept telling them we had everything. Then it came to me that I had wanted to buy our eldest son a ring. Nothing in Vietnam came close to being big enough and sure enough, when I tried their rings they were all too small. But they assured me that if we came back at 1pm, they would have a ring big enough.
Sure enough, at 1pm, they had a selection of rings the right size. So I bought one which then led to the ‘You bought one from her, now you must buy one from me’ banter. After a few minutes, we came away with 4 rings.
There was only one sale that didn’t happen. A H’Mong approached us while we were drinking cocktails on our last evening. We gave her the story that we had everything and couldn’t take any more. But we hadn’t bought the hair comb that lots of women wear, so we looked at hers. The Responsible Adult was in fierce bargaining mode so got her down to $10, but was only offering $5. The women finally left with no sale telling us that we had made her very unhappy. Later, I asked the Responsible Adult why she hadn’t gone with the $10 as it was surely the lowest possible price. The answer was that she simply didn’t want the comb.
As we were leaving Sapa, our mini bus did the rounds of the hotels picking up tourists and who should pop up but the same H’Mong still looking for $10 for the comb. But the Responsible Adult was firm on her price so the sale did not proceed. Anyway, if you are ever in Sapa and want a hair comb – don’t pay more than a tenner for it.
Anyway, that’s about it from me on these lovely ladies. I’m really glad I got to meet them. I did feel a bit sad for them having all those tourists poking around their town and villages, but it is also easy to see that some prosperity is rubbing off and hopefully improving their lives.