Photographer's Note

This photo is not exactly what it may appear. The girl you see is not involved in the sex trade, she is one of Taiwan's infamous betel nut girls. Betel nuts are chewed throughout much of Asia and are a stimulant, quite addictive and highly disgusting, at least to my western eyes. The yellow cup she is giving her customer is used to catch the red saliva/drool/spit that is created when people chew the betel.

I guess it is quite obvious why the betel nut girls are infamous. What you are looking at here is quite typical. They are young, good looking and dressed to appeal to their primarily male clientelle. Although I have not seen it, I have heard stories of certain betel nut girls wearing clothing much, much more revealing than what you see here (think clear plastic, perhaps a thong, that's about it). As it is though, her outfit is provocative to say the least. I need to get a shot of the typical storefront of a Betel Nut girl, they are further suggestive of the sex industry; all glass front, the girl sitting in a stool looking attractive, neon pink lights surrounding the window. (I will find a shot of the storefront and upload it as a workshop in a few hours).

It is important to note the location of this photo as well. It was not taken in Taipei, but in Hsin Tien, probably less than 500m outside of the city of Taipei. The city has been pretty effective in moving the betel nut girls outside of city limits. However, the area here, joins into the highway leading south and virtually all traffic on the street was in the City of Taipei just minutes earlier. NIMBA comes to mind on this one.

Anyways, this guy has pulled over to stock up, probably for a trip down the highway (remember, the nuts are stimulants). To be honest, I was quite surprised that the girl saw I was taking a photo, yet seemed to take very little notice of me.

ISO 200, 98mm focal length, some cropping.

Fil, remember, this is one I told you I had been working on.

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Additional Photos by Darren Melrose (Darren) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1468 W: 120 N: 1049] (6823)
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