BootsnAll Travel Network

Archive for the 'Lao' Category

« Home

Tuk Tuk Tour

Saturday, April 15th, 2006

After the Lao Cotton Company party, Villa, the driver, took a nap in his tuk tuk while we rested in our room. Later that night we toured the city under the lights.

Villa, it turns out, is not just a tuk tuk driver. His other job is finding unexploded ordinances that had been dumped onto Lao by the millions during the Viet Nam War by CIA pilots dressed in T-Shirts and shorts. Of course at the time Nixon insisted we weren’t in Lao or Cambodia during the war. We weren’t…officially. But ask any Lao whether we were and you will get your answer. Before any new thing can be constructed…like a new dam that is being built now in the south of Lao, unexploded bombs have to be found before people get their bodies blown to bits. This will be going on for years and years to come.

Villa’s father fought in the war against the French and he was quite knowledgable about his country’s history. “As long as we are not disturbed by any other country we will be able to develop economically,” he says. “We are at peace now, he adds and I think the future looks good.” I agree.

I spent two days on this trip trying to find the old neighborhood in the city center where I had stayed two years ago and couldn’t figure out why I didn’t recognize anything. It turns out the streets have been paved, street lights put up and new businesses put up by the dozens!

Sabaidee Pi Mai Lao!

Thursday, April 13th, 2006

Lao New Year (and in Thailand) is a time to encourage young people to absorb the spirit of cleaning their temples, houses, stupas of their ancestors and apparently the bodies of anyone, especially the foreigners they come across. The purpose of cleaning is to create new and better lives for the new year…making stronger health and prosperity while all the bad elements of the past year are washed away with the dirty water. Using hoses, buckets, pans and water guns young people soak anyone within reach…hoses often aiming for the crotch…buckets poured over the head. Our wet T-Shirts are definitely iffy looking.

Westerners accomodate the cold onslought with enthusiastic screeches which delights the kids. Then comes the white sweet-smelling powder sprinkled all over the head and face.

Leila and I had made a deal with a Tuk Tuk (pronounced Took Took) driver to spend the morning taking us to visit nearby silk and cotton weaving projects.




The UN sponsored “Lao Cotton Company” had closed for the day and the many water-soaked employees were all outside partying…drinking free wine and beer, eating soup, seaweed, pork and fish and dancing to a Lao band. Leila and I were kindly invited to join them so we fetched Villa, our driver, and made him join us. A table was set up for us and food brought. One after the other of the many younger boys wanted to dance with us…many making us drink a glass of beer first. To his delight Leila taught one young guy the swing…kids turning the hose on all of us all the while.




After many beers and much dancing and soaking, the head of the Project offered to open the store for us. We crazily piled up ridiculously inexpensive hand-woven sheets, pillow slips, fabric for curtains and table cloths to take home with us. Now to get it all on the plane I am having to throw away half my clothes which I didn’t have many of anyway. But my cozy little home in Mexico will look beautiful.

President Khamtay wishes the people of Lao a good new year in the English language Vientiane Times. “The year of the dog will be a great year; we have already begun the year by implementing the resolution of the 8th Party Congress, state five-year plan and we will continue to carry out the 10 year strategic plan for developing the country,” he said. Plans. Communist bureaucracies apparently not much different than democratic ones.

Thai Rock Band

Wednesday, April 12th, 2006
After dinner with Susan, Leila and I looked for some music and found a night club with a terrific Thai band playing Rod Stewart, Eagles and Pink Floyd's "The Wall." Leila turned into a 15 year old...singing along with ... [Continue reading this entry]


Tuesday, April 11th, 2006
1wXSp3CkNsDoJl3s0SgHmw-2006171144731304.gif Seeing the Mekong in Vientiane during dry season was a worse shock than seeing it in Luang Prabang...down hundreds of yards from the water line in the wet season. Leila, my Australian travel ... [Continue reading this entry]


Monday, April 10th, 2006
Never come to Northern Thailand or Lao during the dry season which is now. Slash and burn fires send smoke against the mountains and beyond. You won't see anything and the Mekong River will be down to a trickle.

Vang Vieng

Sunday, April 9th, 2006
LKcJ5S1GCDOhltUeaMWmZw-2006185144552848.gif Beside the Nam Song River, against stunningly beautiful limestone karst mountains that remind me of Guillin China, is the small town of Vang Vieng...a backpacker haven. Well, the mountains would be beautiful if ... [Continue reading this entry]

Road South To Vang Vieng

Sunday, April 9th, 2006
1wXSp3CkNsDoJl3s0SgHmw-2006171144731304.gif Slash & Burn! The mountains here are obscured by the smoke from slash & burn fires as in Chiang Mai so unfortunately the sunset over the Mekong isn't as clear and beautiful as ... [Continue reading this entry]

Phousi Market

Sunday, April 9th, 2006
LKcJ5S1GCDOhltUeaMWmZw-2006185144552848.gif I discovered today that the Talat Dala Market that used to be up the street toward the river has moved to the outskirts of town and is now called the Phousi Market (pronounced "poosi ... [Continue reading this entry]

Lao “Disco”

Monday, April 3rd, 2006
ySKKSpbtXBjgyhP6z8LuC0-2006217035001655.gif Last night a lively 50 year old woman that teaches kindergarten in Alberta Canada, a young woman from California who is a consultant to a California educational testing company, an even younger woman from ... [Continue reading this entry]

Smile Yoga

Monday, April 3rd, 2006
I practice smile yoga... My gift to everyone. "Sabaidie," I say Not knowing their condition Hearts open Feeling Divine.

Luang Prabang Lao

Sunday, April 2nd, 2006
DSC00495.JPG Luang Prabang is an outstanding example of the fusion of traditional architecture and Lao urban structures with those built by the European colonial authorities in the 19th and 20th centuries. Its unique, ... [Continue reading this entry]

Lovely Lao

Wednesday, November 20th, 2002
ySKKSpbtXBjgyhP6z8LuC0-2006217035001655.gif My favorite country so far...the people are sweet but very natural and direct. Flew from Siem Reap Cambodia to Vientiane, the Capital of Lao. The "s" was added by the French so ... [Continue reading this entry]