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tt. Bắc Hà, Bắc Hà District, Lao Cai Province

Visiting markets is a passion of mine. Sometimes I head for home with a hefty bag full of just picked veggies; warm, steamy-fresh bread; or flowers from someone's garden. Sometimes I carry nothing but photos or wonderful memories. While wandering the Sunday market in Bac Ha, one of the biggest in northern Vietnam, I was dazzled by the riotous colors and energetic activity. People were shopping, gossiping, eating, getting hair cuts, having tools repaired and even taste-testing various tobaccos. The market is a social event for the Flower Hmong people in the region, and there are hundreds. This woman was visibly upset, trying to console a crying baby. Her efforts, however, were fruitless, and the baby, probably her grandchild, continued to wail. Drawn to babies everywhere, my husband had a try. Not only was he able to stop the tears, but after a few moments he succeeded in drawing a tentative smile from the baby. The woman had no trouble expressing her gratitude! Our prize find for the day? An indisputable connection, and some of the most colorful photos I have ever seen.

tt. Bắc Hà, Bắc Hà, Lào Cai, Vietnam