Sapa: Sights and Sound

We spotted this man and his children (above) on a hill overlooking Sapa’s famed terraced paddies. Scampering up a muddy slope we joined them. I knew immediately this would make a fine photograph. Seth had a good camera and took the shot. The father smiled as he continued to play his sad lovely tunes, which hovered in the air then drifted away on the mountain breeze.

Medic in cornfield with woman and children, Sapa, 1995In a nearby corn field I bargained and bought colorful hand made sashes from an old woman who may have been the family matriarch.

During the war, the American’s dropped thousands of tons of bombs on Laos. What might the old woman know from that time? It was known as a secret war. The late Fred Bronfman assembled first hand accounts of survivors in his book Voices From the Plain of Jars, and became an advocate for the Lao, making public the CIA’s covert war, and the wide spead suffering it caused.

The tattoo on my arm reads “First Cavalry Vietnam Cambodia 1970.” It was drawn free hand at Tony’s Tattoo Parlor in Union Beach, NJ in 1972. In 1998, New York City dermatologist Dr. Vicky Levine removed it via a Q-Switched Ruby laser.

The treatment consisted of six fifteen minute sessions spaced two months apart. Each session involved numbing the area of the tattoo, then burning away the ink with the laser. The pain was intense. It felt like repeated bee stings. Each inflicted wound took three weeks to a month to heal. The total cost was approximately $1500. Medic is grateful to his friend, the late Richard Ores, MD, who worked at the NYC VA and approved VA payments to Dr. Levine.

Dr. Vicki LevineDr. Vicki Levine

Medical Specialty:

Medical Interests:
Laser Surgery, Chemical Peel, Sclerotherapy,
Mohs Micrographic Surgery, Cosmetic Dermatology
Dermatologic Surgery

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