I love the weekly challenge Just One Person from Around the World. It takes me away from the hum-drum of today’s confinement and lets me to recall great moments abroad. Many times, it’s the people I meet that make my trips memorable and the places I remember that makes them more than what’s in the news.
Like my chance encounter with an old-style barber in Myanmar.
One of the best ways to experience a place is to visit its markets. In Bagan, which is relatively large, the market is open every day and is a bustling hive of activity and traffic. In the Inle Lake area, the market rotates through different towns by day of week. For both, vendors arrive at dawn to setup stalls of fruits, vegetables, meat, fresh and dried fish, cooked food, thanaka wood, woven bamboo walls, books, baskets … you name it. By early morning the centers are packed with people.
Markets offer a sensory delight in visuals and aromas with more than few surprises.
… and no, the shaggy dog was not for sale.
In the scene below, a mother was busy covering her children’s faces with yellow paste. This is thanaka, a traditional Burmese cosmetic made from the ground bark of the thanaka tree. The paste is typically applied to the face and acts as a cooling agent, anti-fungal cream and sun screen.
Normally it’s applied in light circles around the cheeks, eyes and nose. In this case, the mother applied it with a very heavy hand. Something her daughter seems resigned to accept.
While wandering through Nyaungshwe market, we came upon a block of shuttered stalls. At first, we weren’t sure what they were but as we waited, an elderly man came and opened one of the doors.
Inside he uncovered an ancient barber shop chair. It was so old that the wood was bleached through and the metal rusted white. The seat had been re-covered in yellow tarp but the solidness of the wooden arms and embossed metal base spoke of vintage quality. With methodical care and pride, he wiped down the chair. Minutes later he was open of business.
I hope you enjoyed this visit to another part of the world. Every Wednesday CaddyLuck Leedy updates her website with Just One Person stories posted by her and other contributors. They are fun to read. You can check them out here.
Photos taken in Myanmar. 2017 & recalled in Toronto, Canada 2021