Kob Chai Lai Lai

I am a bit disoriented.  Where am I?  Oh yes, Vientiane, Laos.  It is the capital and its largest city.  Sabaidee@Laos hotel (I promise to have a Review Page on all soon.) I had left the curtains open before I went to sleep and am rewarded with a pretty cool sunrise.  It is still dark.  I grab my camera from my bedside table and snap away as it gets lighter.   

I get up and notice that I have not unpacked yet.  I wonder why and go about doing so.  As I hum a song to myself and go into the shower I realize that I am feeling absolutely, completely well.  Was I really sick yesterday?  Was it a nightmare?  Did I imagine it all?  Definitely not!  My imagination is pretty developed but for good.  Never would have I imagined being so sick.  The main thing is that I am well and ready to go.  Later on I would consult with a doctor friend and he said it was most certainly a case of mild food poisoning, otherwise I would not have recovered in 24 hours.  I wouldn’t call it mild but it is now forgotten. Down to kow sao (breakfast  in Lao). I go with a smile on and a “goooooood morniiiiiing” to all.  It is so nice to find some of the group in the restaurant, remarking that it was good to see the old me come back.

We are taking a tour of the city.   Laos gained its independence from France in 1949.  Vientiane certainly has a “Frenchness” to it.   We pass by the Presidential Palace , which is not open to the public and only used for formal ceremonies, on our way to Ho Phra Keo “Hall of the Emerald Buddha”.  It was there that the Emerald Buddha, taken from Chiang Mai, had its home until King Rama I, repossessed it and took it back to Thailand.  









I can’t figure out whether to point my camera at the flowers…

Or at the Buddhas around the museum.   One in my favorite pose of “stop the war, make peace”   

Another in a pose –and attitude- I should adopt:  walking meditation  

In any position (or mudras as they are called) these Buddhas are beautiful.  This one is in the Bhumisparsha mudra symbolizing the enlightenment of the Buddha under the Bodhi tree. 

Or at the Nagas  (mythical serpents, protectors and guardians of treasures) flanking the steps going in. 

 We continue to Wat Sri Saket, home of 6,840 Buddhas.  Some in little niches.  Fascinating to see so many in one place.  

Really sad to see the storage room of the ones damaged in the war.  

But the surroundings are also worth exploring.  This is where I find a Smiling/Happy Buddha.  The story –according to our guide- goes that Buddha was so handsome that many where those he attracted while meditating.  To avoid interruptions he transformed himself into a plumper and less attractive version and therefore happily gained solitude for his meditation.  Looking it up it seems it may have other versions but the constant is that the parasol is for protection. 

Our trip leader finds a nest in a tree, of what is a delicacy in Thailand and Laos:  ants.  He points and pokes at it.      And the ants get angry.  

Then they are really, really mad.     So we leave them alone!

Next is That Luang stupa, said to contain remains of Lord Buddha.  It is impressive.  

The day is brutally hot, there is no shade at all and I can barely stand it, so head back to the bus.  Snapping photos on my way back.

It’s hot even for the monks! 

This building is a Monk’s Center.  The streetlights look very French to me. 

Off we go to Patuxai or Victory Gate.  It was built to commemorate those who fought in the independence from France.  At first sight it is a copy of L’Arc du Triomphe in France and when I ask our guide if he doesn’t find that fact ironic he doesn’t seem to believe so.  It is, however, decorated with mythological Buddhist half female, half bird figurines (kinnari) which makes it quite Laotian on inspection.     

Other details also make uniquely Laotian.    And as I climb steps up to the top on each level there is a mini shopping mall of Lao crafts and souvenirs as well as architectural details that continue reinforcing the Laotian side of this monument.       

The view from above.   

From there, the rest of the afternoon and night is on our own.  I decide to have a mani/pedi since it’s on our way to our hotel.  Will be my first in Southeast Asia.  Unfortunately, though the ambiance was unique the service was not the best.    My feet are happy campers anyway for the little TLC I have provided them.  Little do they know that in the afternoon I will join our guide and some of the group for a walk on Vientiane’s boardwalk and will make them work all over again.

The boardwalk is a surprise.  I am finding that in laid back Vientiane there is much more to see and do than I expected.  Again I wish that I knew how to ride a bike.  Though even as it gets darker the heat is quite oppressive.    
King Anouvong overlooks all this activity.      Giving his back to the “new” aerobics craze and the free class that is held in open air behind him.  
Which I decide to join… for less than a minute. 

I have a feeling he wouldn’t approve of this girl’s attire, an American flag printed on her shirt.  

Alongside freestanding exercise equipment stands this banyan tree, completely ignored by most.  I just stand in front of it awed by its intricacy (and dutifully avoiding –due to highly allergic reaction to exercise- even looking at the exercise machines in front of it 🙂 

At night I join part of the group to eat a pizza, of all things, at a French restaurant in Laos.  Kinda weird, huh?

We leave Vientane, and Laos, tomorrow morning.  I, once again, will be leaving part of my heart.  The Lao people have an acceptance of all things ingrained in them by their religion.  Acceptance… something I should add to my vocabulary and to my life.    Kob chai lai lai (thank you much) Laos for giving me a life lesson.

What will Vietnam (our next destination) teach me?



Categories: BLT+ (Burma) Myanmar, Laos, Uncategorized, Vientiane | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 17 Comments

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17 thoughts on “Kob Chai Lai Lai

  1. Photos are incredible and the colors bring out the joy of the country!


    • So glad they transmit in part the “Laotianess”
      The Lao peoples (as our guide calls his people) are truly special.

  2. Your smile sums up the whole trip for me. I wish I had the courage and the vision to make such a quest.



  3. Nancy De Los Santos

    Girl! You look fabulous in a city surrounded by fabulousness. Many thanks for the break in my other wise quiet day… to adventure with you, my dear vagamunda!

  4. On the contrary, many thanks to you for traveling with me!!!
    Soon we can go back to our morning walks amiga, though I will still be blogging.

  5. So glad to hear you are back to your healthy self! This trip sounds like a journey of a lifetime! Thanks so much for letting us in on it. 🙂

    • It is I that have to thank you. And I truly, truly mean it. This has been so much more enhanced by my virtual companions!

  6. Great recovery, pretty feet, walking sauna, pizza and all those buddhas. I think you had it ALL!! Great to see a photo of you in your momentary spurt of keeness. With all the walking you folks do, I suspect you are kept in decent shape…

    See you in Nam, Lidi!

    • Nam will surprise you as it did me. Post is up. Changes once I leave Ho Chi Minh.
      Did less walking than expected and not the kind that makes you lose weight I’m afraid. Loving the food so having curtailed my intake!
      Oh, and loving having you come along!

  7. Mary Mora Cordova

    Yes, so very happy to hear that you are well again my friend! Now you can fully enjoy all that your journey has to offer. It seems as though you’ve been away so very, very long. I am so enjoying our journey, and at times am so taken aback at your adventuresome nature. As Richard said, all of the colors there are so vivid; and crisp with your attention to the details that catch your eye. I love the Buddist genre/environment that is exuded in them. I feel your peace as you share. Thank you for that. I love you my friend. Be well!
    Always, Mary

    • Sweet Mary how are you doing?? I have been away long. Somehow it did not feel like enough though. I fell in love with Southeast Asia as a whole. I have acquired a whole different attitude towards life. Hopefully it will last me. Love you too my friend. Will call you soon!

  8. I love the outdoor aerobics! I think we need a bit of that in the U.S.!

    Lovely photos. Thanks for sharing them. 🙂

    • Thank you for your words – the ones you write – not the comments – but thank you for the comment too – am I sounding a bit insecure here? 🙂 Yep, wouldn’t it be fantastic to have the outdoor aerobics here? No chance though.

  9. sweetopiagirl

    Reblogged this on Inspiredweightloss.

    • Thank you so much for reblogging me!! Now I have a BIG smile on my face.
      Will be checking your blog out often. The battle of the bulge is one I battle daily so will be reading for inspiration!

      • sweetopiagirl

        Thanks for your comments and please do visit my blog as often as you can! 🙂

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