Phayo, Franche-Compte, Elounda, Jum

Lao Lai Lai

Lao’s indomitable joie-de-vivre is irresistible….
Embellishing house

and its tranquility bewitching, (blue hour-rush hour Ventiane)
Vientiane 5 pm Mekong view

I’m completely convinced there’s truth in the old saying that ‘the Vietnamese plant the rice, the Cambodians watch it and the Lao listen to it grow’: Don’t fall for the cliché, that Laotians are always napping! They’re secretly listening to the precious rice grow! This starts at a young age

and lasts a lifetime
Growing rice

There are moments though, when it’s hard to reconcile the prevailing laid-back vibe
Tuktuk hammock

with the country’s violent, not so far away past as the most-bombed nation, per capita, in the world. The National Museum in Vientiane, with its dusty and scarcely curated exhibits, brought this home to us in blurry photographs and cases of unexploded ordnance (UXO) retrieved from fields and forests around the country
UXO removal

The stark truth is that UXO Lao is still active here, and that even after thirty years, people are still endangered by these devilish devices – an infamous legacy of Lao’s century-long history of brutal oppression
Still Buddha

As sombre (and propagandistic) most explanatory labels at the museum were, some captions made for relieved grins: Photos featured Fidankasato, the leader of Cuba; flanked by pictures of Mr. Yuthxer Arlapath and Mr Falanxua Mitarung!

We’d stuck around to party in Luang Prabang and thus had to shelve the plan to make our way to Phongsali in the North, opting to rumble sensibly back to Vientiane for a visa-fest and onward ground travel, to Thakhek, Savannakhet and Pakse….

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