Back in Vietnam, more than a year after my previous journey, it was time to continue the project. The last trip took place exclusively in Ha Giang province, but this time the road was a bit longer. My friend Quyen and I drove around 1900 kilometers across the North-Eastern provinces of Lao Cai, Lai Chau, Dien Bien, Son La, Hoa Binh, following China's and Lao's border to the West side province of Lang Son.
I had this feeling time seemed to have stopped until we were driving. Though as soon as we stopped, the symptoms of the modern way of life was sneaking into that old black and white photographs atmosphere. Cellphones, TVs, posters of stars on walls, western style clothes, the old traditional spirit seems to fade, pushed away by progress. It remembers me the degeneration of old european folklore, kept alive by old popular festivals in villages.
In Vietnam, most of the men I met weren't wearing traditional costumes anymore. It was mostly women who cares about the elegance and the refinement of traditional clothes. Though young generation keeps them safe and folded in a closet until a worthy celebration. Western and convenient clothes are usually worn in the everyday life. A reason why we often had to wait until the women get properly dressed for the photos.
In a certain way, this situation gives even more sense to this project. It would have been more authentic if the photographs were one or two decades earlier. But things are the way they are, and this will at least witness the changes that occure in vietnamese countrysides. No doubt that the same changes are taking place in other South-East asian countries. Would be worth it to go have a look.