A market on the Bay of Bengal

On my way to visit the ancient temples of Mrauk U in Myanmar, I was captivated by the market in the town of Sittwee overlooking the Bay of Bengal. This is the setting for a Somerset Maugham novel or a place to seriously hide out with little fear of discovery. The approach to the market, narrow streets filled with people and conveyances of a different sort, whetted my appetite for an adventure. I was not disappointed.

Definitely a woman on a mission

The market itself is impressive, definitely authentic, with slippery, filthy floors and the friendliest vendors who did not need to speak English to communicate. With no other foreigners around, I had my way (with my camera, of course) with the chicken ladies. I soon had them smiling as they looked at themselves on the back of my camera. Eventually, they passed me on to take photos of the vegetable sellers and the ladies resting at their Singer sewing machines.

End of the selling day and a little time to relax

In a little alley way deep in the labyrinthine market, I nearly tripped over the betel sellers. Betel nuts, from the areca palm tree are chopped up and place onto a leaf from the same tree. A slosh of lime, calcium hydroxide or slaked lime and not the citrus fruit, is added and rolled up into a package. (It is also called paan in India). You pop that between your teeth and the side of your mouth - and drool. It's a mild sedative and keeps people going during the extremely hot and tiring weather. The betel nut seller was anxious for me to try one but one look at his teeth definitely put me off. I thanked him, smiled sweetly and went on my way.

Anyone for betel nut?

I eventually found my way to the back of the market, went out through a doorway and into the blinding late afternoon light. I felt like I had stepped into a movie set. I was on a stone causeway or pier overlooking both the town of Sittwee and the Bay of Bengal. The boats out in the bay looked like pirate ships and any minute I expected some swashbuckling fiends with knives in their teeth and cutlasses swinging by their side to storm up the steps from the boats. Oh, Errol Flynn, where art thou?

Looking out over the Bay of Bengal from the pier at the back of the market.

A haven for pirates? Only in my imagination.

I wonder how many khats for a boat ride?

Loaded down and ready to go.

Reluctantly, I left this enchanting spot and found my way back to the front of the market. Not far along the road that borders the Bay of BengaI, I came across the rice market. Sittwee is the second largest rice growing and exporting area in Myanmar outside of the Ayeyarwaddy delta.

Working and waiting in the rice market

All too soon the end of the day approached and I retreated from all these commercial delights and found my way to a local viewing spot. What better way to end the day -

- a quiet smoke on the beach
- a drink with your buddies
- a brilliant sunset.
Created By
Janet Webster


Photos by Janet B. Webster AKA The Silver Nomad

Made with Adobe Slate

Make your words and images move.

Get Slate

Report Abuse

If you feel that this video content violates the Adobe Terms of Use, you may report this content by filling out this quick form.

To report a Copyright Violation, please follow Section 17 in the Terms of Use.