Grudin, 55, has been working in Vietnam for 30 years. In 1995, when he was studying literature at the Hanoi University of Social Sciences and Humanities, he had visited Sa Pa in Lao Cai Province to research the H'mong ethnic group’s language. In January 2021 he returned to the town for the first time while on a 22-day trip from Ho Chi Minh City to the northeastern region. “The magnificent scenery, ancient houses and diverse ethnicity of Sa Pa still remain in my memory. I am happy to be back here but surprised by the changes,” he said. Grudin remembered that lamp posts were rare 25 years ago unlike now. The market basically used to be a place for ethnic people to exchange goods but now “it is commercialized and filled with eateries and restaurants along the road to Cat Cat Village.” Though aware change was inevitable, he could not help feel sad about the less clean air and obstruction of views by big hotels that have come up in the town center. Kiril Grudin at a food vendor's in Sa Pa. Photo courtesy of Kiril Grudin. Grudin clearly remembers his trip to Sin Chai Village at the foot of… Read full this story
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