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Photographer's Note

This nice old lady was selling water, beer and cookies in one of the many little streets in Hoi An (Vietnam).
Of course she didn't speak a word of English, she was just smiling at me all the time. With a long row, of black shiny teeth.

This is quite common to see in Vietnam.. the color is obtained from chewing betel. As far as I know, a betel chew is made out of beat leaf, slivers of areca palm nut and some lime paste. This mix is wrapped in a leaf of the betel pepper vine. A woman will then insert this little pouch inside her cheek and chew on it. The betel chew is a mild stimulant (it makes you.. high?) and it relieves toothaches as well as suppresses the appetite.
The chewing of betel is quite wide-spread in Southeast Asia – it actually turns teeth brown but some Vietnamese women have their teeth lacquered for beauty reasons.

(I know, the woman is pretty dark in this pic. But in fact, she WAS standing in the dark! Don't know what to do/how to change this)

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Photo Information
Viewed: 1971
Points: 6
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Additional Photos by Sarah Lugthart (Saar) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 63 W: 4 N: 77] (571)
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