Often sharing a memory can send someone else wandering down their own memory lane. This happened yesterday when Andrew Chilvers, my old friend and colleague from Warsaw Business Journal days, read about my visit to Sa Pa in 2006.
Several years before he was Editor of the WBJ (oh grow up!) Andrew was a journalist and spent some time in Vietnam as the country was opening up to the outside world. Though there was some tourism after Unification in 1976 it was on a very small scale and there was very little infrastructure to support travel. However in 1993 a change of visa restrictions opened the country to the outside world. But even three years later in November of 1996 when Andrew made the trip to Sa Pa it was a journey very different from mine ten years later.
This morning Andrew wrote me that:
“When I was in Sa Pa there were only a couple of hardy backpackers there – (it was) still new to tourists. The journey around the mountains was a shocker – in a soviet era jeep on decaying roads with 100 foot drops. I loved it. Lots of ruined French villas on the roof of the world mainly inhabited by Hmong people.”
He has allowed me to share an article he wrote in 2014 recalling that adventure. A left click on the photo of Sa Pa’s art deco church will take you to Andrew’s memory of the Sapa of 1996.
The word for October 16th is:
Memory /ˈmem(ə)rē/: [noun]
1. The faculty by which the mind stores and remembers information
2. Something remembered from the past; a recollection.
3. The part of a computer in which data or program instructions can be stored for retrieval.
Middle English: from Old French memorie, from Latin memoria, from memor ‘mindful, remembering’.