The Market at Phố Bảng

Woman sawing lynx bones. 'Tiger bones', Go to another site. well maybe not quite, but sold as, and certainly made to look like, those of a large lynx, and sold for the same properties that popularise their big cousins Hiding in the hills, tight up on the Chinese border, in the west of Đồng Văn District - northernmost Vietnam - is the small village of Phố Bảng. Here a weekly market attracts large crowds of traders and customers at dawn, indeed by 8.30 the day is largely over. To a visitor's eyes the great merit of the market is the lack of visitors; only ourselves to spoil the delightful atmosphere of a market that is entirely dedicated to its traditional work. The icing on this cake is that, although there is no official road between the two countries, people everywhere trade and work where they can: here languages, money, and peoples' houses may belong to either country. Josh sticks. These are bundles of josh sticks Offerings. These are sandals and papers which will be burnt as offerings Next to the Tiger Bones are stalls selling various ritual accessories. Customer with flutes. Flutes and pan-pipes being tried out by customers Customer with large pan-pipe. A customer trying the large type of pan-pipe Young woman. Young woman in leather jacket and traditional headscarf Woman in traditional clothes. The traditional back basket, headscarf and slit skirt of the local women Woman in red headscarf. Nearly all women wear a headscarf of some type Old woman in headscarf A face so rich in texture as to challenge communication or exchange Man in beret with toothpick. Man typical in his beret, padded jacket and tooth picking Man with basket and beret. Man with basket, beret, baggy trousers and traditional toggled jacket Woman in yellow. Headscarves are purely functional not decorous. They filter the cold air, and keep the dust out of mouths and hair Renminbi 100 note. Wadges of Chinese banknotes are common in the market, this is the Renminbi 100 note, Go to another site. officially worth about £12 Cooking dumplings. Cook with dumplings. These large white fluffy dough balls have a small centre of meat. They are steamed and served from the steamer - just right first thing on a cold morning Beer drinking. 8am and work done. With a fine morning a beer becomes irresistible Women and Hen cages. Foot rest (and chickens for sale) Stall and beer drinkers. Fruit sales with clothes and beer beyond Men with pigs. Pig sales Man buying vegetables. Markets in Vietnam are alike in selling huge quantities of vegetables... Sales on ground. ...but not alike in their backdrop of hills Open sided stall protection. The stalls beside the main structure are protected by roofs with open sides Main building. Markets in Vietnam ban motorbikes - a ban rarely observed Market entrance. Markets in Vietnam have entrances which proclaim exactly what they are Hills by Pho Bang village. The hills around the village After our visit to the market, finding a cafe for breakfast was not easy. The village was largely closed, with everyone occupied at their stalls or with their own shopping. The cafe we did find was staffed by a young woman who was unsure of her role. So my friends took over, organising and cooking the breakfast, and telling her what to do. No problem in Vietnam, imagine that in the some other countries. Street in Pho Bang. The main street of the village The Hoang Long cafe. The Hòang Long cafe - the only one 'open' Mud built house. The older houses beside the modern concrete cafe which, like many throughout Đồng Văn, are mud built, an example under construction was shown on the Lũng Cú Road page Cooks in cafe Two women cooking in a cafe, the stove is behind the counter where the food can be displayed. But here the woman on the left is a complete stranger to the area and the proprietors The next page returns to where I stay in Tĩnh Gia, with its still thriving market. But supermarkets are opening all around, and the days of the market in Tĩnh Gia are probably numbered, as surely as markets closed in the west in the 1950s. Entrance to Tinh Gia Market. line
Saturday 21st January 2017 Murphy on duty
While travelling these pages are produced using a Microsoft system.
Colour consistency and quality is sadly much diminished until my return to my Mac.

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