“Colours of Myanmar”

Yangon, Myanmar. November 2019 (12 photos)

This is Part 13 of my posts about Myanmar, and Part 16 of my posts about my near month-long visit to Myanmar, Thailand and Singapore in November 2019.

Yangon, formerly known as Rangoon, is the largest city in Myanmar with a population of over 7 million. The name Yangon is derived from the combination of the Burmese words ‘yan’ and ‘koun’, which mean ‘enemies’ and ‘run out of’, respectively. This word combination is commonly translated as ‘End of Strife’. It’s rather ironic given the history of Yangon and Myanmar. Anyway, here are some more photos from my walks in Yangon: Scenes from the end of strife…

Colour abounds throughout Myanmar. Above, a man reads the newspaper at the Sule Pagoda. For locals, the larger pagodas are akin to town squares and meeting places. The man is wearing a longyi, a sheet of cloth approximately 2 metres long worn around the waist, running to the feet. It is held in place by folding fabric over without a knot.

“A heavy burden”

Another man in a longyi, at a street market, carrying goods across his shoulders. People carrying goods on their head and shoulders is a common sight in Myanmar. Street markets are exceedingly common in Yangon as well.

Don’t worry, I got out of his way soon enough.

“Street food”

And of course, street food stalls are everywhere. I did indulge, but I was careful to only choose foods that were cooked to order.

“At the Scott Market”

Formerly known as the Scott Market, Bogyoke Aung San Market is a major bazaar in central Yangon, Myanmar. Known for its colonial architecture and inner cobblestone streets, the market is a major tourist destination, dominated by antique stores, Burmese handicraft and jewellery shops, art galleries, and clothing stores.

“B.A.N.A.N.A.S.”

I came across this wonderful looking banana shop in Central Yangon. Definitely photo-worthy.

Speaking of bananas…

“Yangon: scene from the end of strife”

A couple of days earlier I was in a rather rundown area on the outskirts of Yangon. A bit off the tourist trail, unless you enjoy actively seeking out urban decay.

“Yangon Banana Market”

A perfect location for the Yangon wholesale banana market. Multiple rows of stalls selling bananas. I didn’t get there until mid-afternoon when the market was more sleepy than busy.

“Banana boats”

Those people were rolling bottle caps out of a can as a game. Actually, the banana market was right on the bank of the Yangon River, for ease of transport and you can see some boats in the background. Hmmm, bananas and boats – Day-O…

“Asleep on the job”

Work all night on a drink of rum
Daylight come and me wan’ go home

“A busy day”

There is a side trade in coconuts there as well.

“Bananas galore”

Come, mister tally man, tally me banana
Daylight come and me wan’ go home

“The banana seller”

After I took the photo, the man saw me and gave me a curious smile. So I waved and smiled back, then walked up to him and showed him the photos I had just taken of him. Both our smiles got a lot bigger.

…..

This is Part 13 of my posts about Myanmar, and Part 16 of my posts about my near month-long visit to Myanmar, Thailand and Singapore in November 2019.

Leica Etcetera, Photography Etcetera

Yangon: Scenes from the end of strife (2)

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72 thoughts on “Yangon: Scenes from the end of strife (2)

  1. Day-O? Who said day? Who said day?… Who said Day-ay-ay-oh? Great photos, as usual. It doesn’t look as if anyone buys the bananas!? Look, it may be weird, but I’m wondering if anyone, wearing a longhi(?) , and carrying a load, has had it unravel? Maybe it’s a female/hip question… Sorry, I just had to share the thought.

    • You get it – it’s a happy song. Several of the stalls had been emptied out of bananas and boats were still arriving and unloading so some stalls may have been freshly restocked. I’m not sure if it was a 24 hour hour market or not, but activity was dying down whilst I was there. As for the longyi, men tie theirs in front and women tie theirs at the side. I did see some being re-tied/re-positioned but didn’t witness any accidents. I’m also not sure as to the underwear protocol for men either. πŸ™‚

    • Big smiles are something you notice very quickly in Myanmar. They haven’t been overcome by tourism yet, and many will come up to you deliberately for selfies, and many children in smaller villages came to me wanting to be photographed. It was a lot of fun. And people wear plenty of colours and patterns and buildings are multicoloured- it’s all so visually appealing. I love Paris, but the buildings are all the same colour and like most Western cities, black and grey are dominant colours for clothing. Yep, it’s a banana lover’s paradise.

      • In Lanzerotte and some Greek islands the houses are exclusively white (they have to be), which makes a great contrast with the colors of the surrounding nature which are abundant. That’s lovely to see.
        On the other hand, there are plenty of colors in northern Europe where there isn’t much sun. And everything in between is dull when it comes to colors.

  2. Anne Fraser @theplatinumline.blog says:

    I remember singing daylight come in a school concert 60 years ago. I always picture the West Indies as our bananas come from there. Superb pictures as always.

    • Thank you kindly. My understanding is the song is Jamaican in origin. But music is an international language and the visual imagery was there in abundance, so I adapted it. πŸ™‚

  3. It’s always a joy to see a post from you. Holy banana bread, Batman, that’s a LOT of bananas!!! I’ve found that in Arizona bananas ripen very, very quickly, so I only buy a few at a time as we don’t like them too soft.

    My favorite thing today, though, is the longyi. Partly because that much material is certainly long-y and partly because I have the same thought/question as kzmcb. I’m quite sure if I tried to wear one it would work its way loose and fall off. I have that problem with my post-shower towel (if that’s not TMI.) πŸ™‚

    Have a wonder-filled week!

    janet

    • Thank you so much, Janet. Bananas are in abundance there and I’m certain it’s eaten in abundance as well. As for the longyi, I suspect learning to tie one up properly is part of the growing up process. I didn’t see any accidents at all during my wanders.

  4. Wonderful photos. I didn’t get to really wander around Yangon as much as I would have liked to. So I never really got to the smaller markets in town. They look so much like small markets in India.

  5. I love your photos, its a delight to see so many bananas! You captured the essence so well and transported me back to this beautiful colorful country I had the privilege to visit 10 years ago. Am so glad to read that over tourism hasn’t consume the culture and people for now. And yes, they are very friendly!

    • Thank you very much. Even without overtourism, the Myanmar that you encountered 10 years ago would have been so much different to the one I saw last year. It’s the inevitability of change. Honestly, I wish I’d visited years earlier. Thanks for your visit.

      • 10 years ago, once the plane landed in Myanmar, all mobile connection to outside world is banned. It was indeed a pure indulgence in a country still raw to tourism and everyday plan was impromptu as there is no way to book anything ahead. Mostly blend in with the flow, another beauty in travel πŸ™‚ There were also military soldiers holding rifle stationed at random Bagan pagodas when I cycled exploring it. I am sure compared with Cambodia, change is less in Myanmar and people are still very warm and friendly as shown clearly in your beautiful photos.

        • I found Siem Reap was overrun by tourism and changing with tourism. Myanmar as you say is still raw and I would love to have travelled as you did all those years ago there.

  6. A fantastic series, LD. Such vibrant images. Love the banana stores! Your opening image of the man reading the paper is excellent. Great light, comp and colors. πŸ™‚

  7. Took a while for me to find the sleeping banana seller!
    I, too, love a good market. Sadly there aren’t really any over here in London, with the exception of Billingsgate, and that’s a no-no for photography (and I wouldn’t risk annoying the burly Cockneys!). Here’s to hoping I can finally put together that trip in Myanmar and Laos I’ve been daydreaming about for a while… in the meantime, your photos will do!
    Fabrizio

    • There’s a joy in finding the “surprise” and that guy sleeping was it for me. πŸ™‚ Same here, local markets in Australia don’t give me the thrill that Asian markets do – the smell, the noise, the chaos and (in Siem Reap) almost getting run over by motorcycles takes their markets to a different level. On the plane to Singapore I watched a documentary about Laos – I certainly hope you get to do that trip. I’d like to as well.

  8. Hey Mr Draco … I don’t think I have ever seen so many wonderful shots of bananas … and it looks like some coconuts for good measure! So much colour .. thanks as always for taking us with you!!

    • Actually most of the stalls had sold out. I didn’t get there until the afternoon so I suspect the stalls with the bananas may have been restocked. I did see some boats arrive with bananas to be unloaded.

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