Chauk market

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Chauk is a busy town, 30 km south of Bagan by the Irrawaddy River. Chauk was built up by the British as an oil town, as oil is mined and processed here. So on the streets you can see both Burmese, Chinese, and Indian looks. In the photo above you will also see a Catholic nun. So, this is a quite cosmopolitan town.

I try to always ask people first if I can take their photo, but maybe I forgot here for the lady with the chopper and the chickens! The chickens are coated with turmeric to make them yellow as customers think these chickens look better than unstained chickens. The lady in pink wanted to pose for me after she saw me taking photos of her neighbours in the market.

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This market had an array of dried foods as well as fresh produce, and was very busy.

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Two specialities here are the betel leaf and sugar candy. The lady on the left below is preparing the betel leaf which can be sweet or bitter depending on the customer’s requirements. The lady on the right below is selling palm sugar products, much loved by the flies!

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The fresh food stalls are on the edge of the market and benefit from some sunlight.

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It was noticeable in Chauk that most of the shop keepers were women, although both men and women were the shoppers. All except for monks though. Male monks do not shop for food, it is donated to them by their followers. In contrast, female monks (they do not seem to refer to them as nuns) are allowed to go shopping! They wear a distinctive pink/brown outfit with a pink scarf resting on their head.

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© Helen Gray 2021