Just One Person … from Myanmar

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.

 Market Scenes
Nyaungshwe Market (Myanmar)

… 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.

Tanaka family (Myanmar)

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


      1. I was just telling Loving Husband yesterday about this challenge and how I have shyed away from people in my photos (apart from family & friends) but that I am inspired by yours and the other people who participate in Just One Person to try.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I’ve found that pictures are enlivened when people are in it. This particular series suits me because I am predisposed to street portraiture. It does take practise to overcome natural shyness and take pictures of people. But if you open yourself to others, many times they will open to you. You should try 🙂


  1. Oh, Sandy what a wonderful post! Aren’t markets the best thing ever for people watching? I think so……you really get the life of the village! That barber chair, no telling how old it is……I bet it was passed through the family, don’t you? Every week I can’t wait to read all the posts and see the photos!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi, Sandy – I also love markets and their vendors, as well as the market-goers that are found there. I always try to visit local markets when I travel.
    I love how this series focuses on just one person — this unique history that they bring and the difference that they make. Very powerful post!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Fabulous post! I love markets too and they’re always a fruitful source of images, but your shots of the barber are particularly engaging 🙂 I’m loving this challenge too, both contributing to it and reading everyone else’s posts 😀

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I think so too, although we’ve never been to Myanmar. We were all set to go some years ago and had to cancel at very short notice because my father was ill. We’ve never yet got around to rearranging that trip and I doubt we will in the near future given the current situation there 😦

        Liked by 1 person

  4. What a wonderful post! I have wandered around those markets too, there is always so much going on! I love your last photos of the barber, he has a beautiful face. These are definitely memories to cherish.


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