Saturday, May 13, 2023

Batiking in Lao Chai!

Happy Saturday, everyone!

At least I think it's Saturday - 

And I know it's been a few days since I've popped my head in - 

There is an 11 hour time difference between Vietnam and my home state of Virginia, and my body is rebelling at every turn to get me resituated where I should be.

But just take a look at this beautiful scene -

The terraces you see are rice paddies.  In the mountains, they get ONE rice growing season where in the delta regions they can have up to three per year - and it is all dependent upon rain if these mountain rice paddies are going to thrive and produce.

Much like a waterfall, the water flows from the top terrace down to the bottom -

Here we were a short distance from Sapa to visit the H'mong and Dzay ethnic minority village of Lao Chai for a workshop in batiking with beeswax on hemp cloth -

My group after hiking up the rather steep trail to the home of our artisans.

Learning to batik with melted beeswax and special tools.

Wax was kept hot in a pot full of hot coals.

This was really fun, and we got to let our imaginations run wherever we wished -

We could also use stamps.

I think the one thing I will always keep with me is the smell of melted beeswax - 

I had the best, most fun travel group ever!

Great job!

After we left, our artwork was dyed in indigo - also grown right here in the village - the panels were then boiled to remove the wax, dried in the sun and delivered to our hotel in Hanoi before we left for the airport.

The sheer feat of arranging all of this so we could take our art home with us is mind numbing and appreciated!

I also took time to appreciate the cultivating of rice paddies up close next to the house - standing on the patio and looking over the village buildings below.

You can't separate the art from the surroundings.

They both have to be combined to really appreciate each batik piece made here.

Yes, there is a video because there are too many good photos!

Click to Play:

Everyone did so great!

And one more - because the hemp cloth starts here -

Imagine harvesting the hemp, spinning it into thread, and then weaving it to get cloth.  

We have so much we take for granted, don't we?

Purple flowers growing on a hillside

And this guy -

Water buffalo, totally unaware of being photographed -

And this is where an adventure of a different kind unfolded - no way to stop it, as accidents tend to happen.

I tripped on the edge of the road (as far as I can tell) and one leg slid down the mud and the other twisted to follow, and I ended up on my butt in a drainage ditch.

Oh how humiliating!  It all happened so fast, and there was no way to undo it.

Needless to say, the sandals and the shorts were bagged and discarded - there was no other way to deal with that mud, and I wasn't bringing it home!

The next day Deb and I took a taxi to the international hospital in Hanoi to see the twisted knee seen to.  It had swollen greatly overnight and there was more bruising evident.

They treated me wonderfully and I can't say enough about the the hospital/medical staff - it was AMAZING care.

They put this full leg brace on me, prescribed me meds, and sent me back to the hotel to rest.

What's a girl to do but watch some Netflix and stitch away on a future New Zealand project?

My group had continued on to Ha Long bay and their overnight bay cruise and other activities.  I was sorry to miss that leg (HA) of the trip, but glad they could go.

On their return I was awarded "The golden water buffalo" for my survival.  Thanks, Marnie & Chrissie - this is so hysterical and now has a place of honor in my home.

This is JUST before falling -

And you can't keep a girl down for long.

Our return to Hanoi from the mountains.

Vietnam broke a heat record reaching 111 f that day.  Things were just reaching evening as we returned to our hotel, and the sun was setting through a red haze as we crossed this bridge.

I'm so glad we went from air conditioning to air conditioning - also grateful that temps are a very mild 70 f at home!

I arrived home Thursday afternoon - a complete zombie.  I stopped in at Quiltville Inn to welcome the Muddy Creek Misfits who had arrived Wednesday afternoon and knew what was going on with me and the (*&#(*&@ knee.

Yesterday I had an appointment with the ortho guy for more x-rays.  Nothing is broken. We will schedule an MRI to be sure nothing is torn or damaged.  I have upgraded to a much smaller knee brace that is giving me stability and a bit more range of motion.

I am resting, icing, elevating and doing all of the things required.

(All while the golden water buffalo laughs!)

Also on the upside - Even while falling and landing in a muddy, watery farm ditch I kept my cell phone out of the mud and water!  Hooray - important things, you know?

There are more photos and videos to come as I continue to mend and readjust.

It's just so great to be home. That's all I can say.

Quiltville Quote of the Day -

You will never know how much your smile can light up another's face -
Even if you don't speak the same language!
Give it a try!

Have a great weekend, everyone - catch you back for more on Monday.


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