People at the Đồng Văn Market

Main market street in Dong Xuan. The main street by the market. Roughly the notice says "Road forbidden to all types of mechanical vehicle however rudimentary". No Vietnamese scene would be complete without a command and a transgressor - notice the wheel above and left of the notice Each ethnic group in the far north of Vietnam has its own traditional way of dressing. The women's clothes are often extremely colourful. Given this, and that market day is a highlight for most local people for which the wish to dress as well as possible is irresistible, it is hardly surprising that markets are great tourist attractions. It is also fortunate that generally, at such public occasions, people are tolerant of photographers. Typical man and woman's clothing. Ethnic minority men's jackets are usually plain black with loops and toggles made of platted threads Woman in silvered top. High fashion - at the price of comfort? Women chatting. Older women in more sombre attire stand talking... A drinking stall in the hall. ...while men sit drinking and talking Talking and drinking, drinking and talking. Much the same everywhere. Although here the men will do the most drinking, and probably the most talking. Women and man talking. Women and men mix freely Woman joining men for a drink. And drink together - a woman joins the men Man reacting to tourist. Not everyone is sure about foreigners. Indeed the boy, left, is worried, while the friend, behind, is long suffering, and seen this reaction before Man eating nuts. But there is more than drinking, the main snack in Vietnam is nuts rather than sweets. He is managing to crack open tiny nuts while wearing large gloves Row of sellers and row of drinkers. The men drink and talk, the women work and talk - here a delightfully subtle contrast between the two rows. In the foreground a man has a communal pipe - tobacco is free with food and drink in Vietnam Colourful embroidery as drinking backdrop. A photogenic mixed group set off by the sale of embroidered cloths Cafe owner posing. Most people are nervously flattered if asked for their photograph Man eeating pho. Phở is the national dish: hot, nourishing, filling and tasty People watching photographer. Photographer scrutinised Couple. A little hen pecked, even his hands seem to say so Two women. Captions for this welcomed... Men hunkered watching. Sitting happily enjoying tourists is as much an occupation here as it is for locals on Edinburgh's High Street Four women standing. Inside the market hall the focus in on eating - and of course talking - donkeys in Vietnam mostly have only two legs The next page goes to the heart of Đồng Văn, of Hà Giang, of the universe, to the 'Pho Co Cafe'. In my eyes top contender for the title of the world's most atmospheric meeting place. Main room of the cafe. line
Saturday 22nd October 2016 Murphy on duty

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