A town\u2019s pulse may be felt in its markets \u2013 markets in which the locals shop.\n\nTraders big and small, the wares they offer, the way these are displayed, their ways of calling attention to their shops, their methods of negotiation, the courtesies, warmth and involvement in their exchanges, the bonding between the buyers and the sellers, the flow of traffic, the prices, the order or the chaos, the little details of the shop, the sentiments that are present and particularly those that are absent, all together describe the character of a town better than any words can.\nIn every town I visit, the local market is usually my first stop. It is a trailer of the film that will unfold during the journey, if one has time for the film. Otherwise it offers a great glimpse into the society and the matter that are dear to it.\nA few photos from the streets of Yangon and Bagu in Myanmar (Burma).\n**\nEARNING KARMA\nThe psychology of Myanmar and how \u2018earning good karma\u2019 is the central theme of the life of the people.\nOutside the monastery or Pagoda, this man sits with caged sparrows. For a small payment one may earn good karma by buying the release of these sparrows!\n\nThis is similar to the scene that I see often in India. There, outside temples a woman sits with her pet cow and bundles of grass and animal-feed. For a small fee you can buy the grass to feed HER PET cow and thus earn good karma of Punya. What a winner business model the cow-owner has come up with!\nIn this case though, the caging of the birds is entirely different from holding a pet cow. But perhaps he is earning karma from the service in which he is offering others an opportunity to earn karma.\n\n**\nTANAKHA\nNote\u00a0 the paste on the cheeks of the drink-vendor. These are religious marks are made by applying a paste that is made by dipping a particular wood \u2013 Tanakha \u2013 in water and then rubbing it on stone. It is applied of the cheeks and arms during visits to the Buddhist temples. Sandalwood is used in a similar way in other places.\n\n\nTanakha wood\n\n\n**\nTRANSPORT\nRiding on the tops of vehicles is common across the small towns of Asia! The breeze, the scantier crowding and the view make it worth the risk.\nHere we have a monk enjoying the prime spot on the vehicle!\n\nThe markers of courtesy and politeness \u2018please\u2019 and \u2018thank you\u2019 and \u2018hello\u2019 might be absent in these streets BUT everyone here makes room for everyone else.\nAnd THAT is a courtesy in action \u2013 not mere words of \u2018hello\u2019 & \u2018thank you\u2019.\nThis attitude of \u2018making room for all\u2019 is lacking in more \u2018civilised\u2019 societies where the grumbles of drivers can pollute the atmosphere far more than the the emission of their cars can.\n\nThe eco-friendly Cycle rickshaws in tiny crowded streets where everyone makes way for everyone else.\n\n\n**\nDRESS\n\nThe hats, the umbrellas are integral components of the costume.\n\n\nThe sarong \u2026 the most comfortable wrap-around skirt. It has also been adopted by men and is called the Lungi.\n\n\nThe lungi\n\n\n**\nSTREET FOOD\n\nSome root / tuber that is flattened by beating and then eaten \u2013 another delicacy\n\n\n \n\nNaturally, if this business has survived, they must have ways of preserving the cooked meat in the heat of the day that can reach 30 degrees centigrade\n\n\nAll kinds of interesting-looking street food\u2026.probably glutinous rice and jaggery\n\n\n\n\n\nSomeone\u2019s had a brisk business day!!\n\n**\nMARKET NOVELTIES\n\n\n\nTools for skilled workers\n\n\nSaws for cutting tree trunks\n\n\u00a0\u00a0 \u00a0\u00a0 \n\nA painter sits comfortably on the floor and paints while her two toddlers play around her on a main street in Yangon\n\n\nPuppies for sale \u2013 once again on the main street in Yangon\n\n\n\nNo idea what this is \u2013 and therefore it is interesting!\n\n\n\n\nRipe jackfruit. Some people love it \u2013 others cannot stand the fragrance of the ripe fruit but love the raw stage!\n\n\nA hand-held coconut scraper!\n\n\n\nBurmese Puppets\n\n\nThese are probably the equivalent of the \u2018Evil-eye\u2019 deflectors or the Nazar Butti.\n\n \nMonks and nuns must beg for their food every morning \u2026. a group of nun novitiates and their senior.\n\n\nSeed vendors\n\n\nHome grown chicken \u2013 not injected with hormones or anything artificial.\n\n\nPuffed Rice\n\n\nLottery Seller!\n\n \n\nAnd a tailor for any ad hoc stitching jobs that might come up for alterations or torn clothes or bags!\n\n\nAnd even Mickey Mouse has arrived!\n\n**\nSPECIALITIES\nBagu is famous for fermented fish & fermented prawns \u2013\u00a0 Myanmarese delicacies. Just as one might ask friends traveling to Japan to bring back some Wasabi or bring back Maple syrup from Canada, visitors to Bagu are asked by their families and friends to bring back fermented fish or prawns.\n\n\n \nChewing Betel nuts and Betel nut leaves is a widely enjoyed habit in Myanmar. In Singapore too, the only place one can find betel nut leaves is the mall that is popular with Myanmarese people!\n\n\n\nAnd finally the smoke! Called a cheroot the tobacco is rolled up in a leaf! Also another specialty of Bagu!\n \u00a0 \n**\nAnd surprise surprise \u2013 a samosa snack seller \u2013 who has a portable stall o which he makes the yummy fried snacks, keeps them warm on a straw tray above the frying pan that is above the stove AND he speaks to me in Hindi!!\nMany Indians stayed back in Rangoon and his ancestors were one of them!\n\nI saw several Indian women wearing saris\u00a0 probably originally from Eastern U.P. or Bihar in India \u2026. living their full-on Indian life with ghunghat sarpallu and bright orange sindoor paste in the middle of Myanmar!\n\nIndian ladies at the railway station\n\nTHAT is the beauty of Asia \u2013 there is no way she will conform to your expectations! She will always go beyond and surprise you and leave you gawking at the novelty of life!\njm\nJan 2015\nThe post Street Culture of Myanmar \u2013 a Photo Travelogue appeared first on The Art Blog by WOVENSOULS.COM.