Some travelers get to know a place through its monuments, parks or museums. Driving through stunning landscapes, hiking the mountains or basking in the sun on sandy beaches are other ways to experience foreign destinations. Sampling local cuisine is also a means of getting a sense for the spirit of a place.
But for those of us who have a bit of retail in our blood, there’s no better way to experience a place than visiting the local markets. I don’t mean big box shopping centers or Grand Bazaars set up to entrance the tourist trade. I mean the markets where real people meet, greet, buy, sell, haggle and gather to share their lives on a regular basis.
I love the people watching. The monk in his special head gear in Bhutan, the ladies with their Thanaka in Myanmar, the spices heaped high in Turkey. It’s fun to see what is being bought and sold and everything is displayed. I often wish I could understand what looks like gossipy conversations. Just what are those ladies chatting about so intensely? No trip is complete for me with out some “hanging- around-in-the -local -market” time.
Without a doubt, visiting the places real people shop for their daily sustenance is a window into the culture in which they live.
Enjoy these images of markets I enjoyed in Myanmar in November 2016.