Mèo Vạc - Street Sales

Women drinking in street together. A very unusual sight in Vietnam: women drinking in a public place, but these streets belong to ethnic minorities, and their mores are not those of the majority Viet (Kinh) people Two women and a girl in green. A family in green. Behind are the baskets in which their household utensils were brought to the street Mèo Vạc is a fascinating town, hopefully a little of this interest was seen on the last page. It still retains its sense of a remote community that has not been compromised by visitors or demands from central agencies. The population is dominated by members of ethnic minorities - H'Mong, Dao and Giay - adding colour and customs to the streets unseen in most of Vietnam where the Kinh are the dominant racial group. The pictures on this page show more of an essential preoccupation in Vietnam - trading, and in particular those who choose to sell by simply laying out their wears in the street. The next page moves to those whose stalls are inside. Women drinking together. A little 'refreshed' the women easily lure Hân... Han being offered a drink. ...into a drink, conversation, and their banter Boy with arms folded. The male folding of arms is not restricted to adults Row of women sitting. While most of the traders, like those seen above, are from local ethnic groups, in any market there will be... Viet women selling oranges. ...some venders who are Viet Pipe salesman offering pipe. How can you not buy one of these beautiful pipes at such a ridiculously low price? - he is probably saying. Pipes like this are in use throughout the country, this simplest form is a length of bamboo, with a side shoot to hold the tobacco, and a water reservoir within one end Face of llast man. A face that just had to be shown again. Caps, toggle jackets and baggy trousers are uniform for the men across ethnic groups in the north of Vietnam... Women examining watch. ...Whereas the women's dress shows their affiliations down to district level Girl standing laughing. Rather a lot of the banter seen between traders in Vietnam is quite sharp... Women laughing, boy somber. ...by our polite standards. But everywhere there is a sense of fun, and what might otherwise be a boring life is goaded into acceptability Women tasting drink. Women looking at phone.

More drinking...more phones...more jokes
Man and women laughing together. Selling greens, man hunkered watching. The simplicity of collecting goods together, walking to the town, and then laying them out on the road or pavement is seductive, and annoying... Women selling from sacks of dry goods. ...for those who pay for space; a worldwide irritation. The next page goes to those who rent their stalls Man repairing watch. One characteristic of Vietnamese street markets, is that any common household item can be repaired while you stand and wait, here the man on the left mends watches, and the man on the right fits fastenings The next page takes you into the covered market that sits beside the street shown above. There is also a courtyard where cattle are sold, and buyers can prod and probe the beasts. Market dining room. line
Saturday 28th April 2018 Murphy on duty

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