Potemkin Water Wheel

This photo of kids playing on a river bank near a waterwheel is from a tribal village near Sapa in the north of Vietnam. The thing to observe is that the water wheel is not connected to anything.

Water Wheel © Harold Davis

In fact, the mountainous north of Vietnam is getting damned for hydroelectric power at a fast pace. Although this will certainly alter the landscape, it is probably for the best assuming that at least some of the power and prosperity benefits the local communities (although you know what they say about assumptions!).

But this water wheel, and the whole village it is in, are in effect a Potemkin artifact—constructed as a photo opportunity for gullible tourists.

This entry was posted in Vietnam.

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