One of our favourite ways to get a “feel” for a place is definitely to go and check out the local market. This is probably the best way to people watch and buy some amazing fresh produce at the same time. Nyaung U is the town closest to the temples of Bagan so there are often little clustered swarms of tourists buzzing around on their bus tours. By venturing deep into the heart of the market we were able to avoid all of the package tour pensioners and got a chance to really see people interact with each other in the same way they do every day. We also met some phenomenal people keen to chat to us and practice their English, and we even met one really awesome old lady who while puffing on a monster cigar, instructed us to take a photo of her and eventually nodded in approval when we got a pic of her that she liked. We saw some amazing produce from orange bamboo shoots, to pieces of thanaka wood people grind up and put on their faces as sunscreen and even some really disturbing looking dry eels.
The dried eels smelled as good as they looked…
These as far as we could gesticulate with the seller are tobacco leaves that the Betel is wrapped in and is part of the thing that stains people’s teeth a maroon colour.
Some beautiful homemade art.
This spectacular cigar smoking lady was such an awesome character! She called us over and posed for us with her cigar and gave us a big toothy grin when we managed to get a cool shot of her. The friendliness of the people in Myanmar really is second to none (despite what we said about both Ethiopia and Nepal having the friendliest people).
It really was so great just hanging out watching people go about their normal lives. This woman was inspecting some flowers for her house in amongst buying her other groceries.
That hanging basket covered in a white sheet actually contains a baby. We saw these awesome homemade bouncy cradles all over Myanmar so that moms can carry on with their day to day jobs while bouncing their babies next to them.
Some ingredients below from the AMAZING Myanmar speciality, Tea Lea salad which is made with fermented tea leaves, raw garlic, chilli, peanuts and a whole bunch of other delicious things.