Concrete sculptures

Trip Start Sep 30, 2006
Trip End Dec 24, 2008

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Monday, July 14, 2008

After leaving Vientiane we bussed it over the Friendship bridge and into northern Thailand to a town called Nong Khai. We were excited to find out that this town was rated as one of the top ten places in the world to retire to, we knew we were in for a great time.

The town itself is pretty small, but has all the amenities you could wish for if you had recently joined the Saga side of life - a nice promenade alongside the river, a market, a hospital and a bakery. We checked into our guest house, turned on the fan, opened the balcony door, switched on the tv and called down for a cuppa....... retired life is good.

Our pace has really slowed down while being here and it's actually a nice relaxing place to be for a few days. We found a great floating restaurant and bar playing The Darjeeling Express movie one evening. We thought watching it might be some good preparation for our travels in Southern India so we settled down with a nice cold beer.

The following day we hired a motorbike, having our own set of wheels is great, we set off at 30mph down the dual carriageway. We had heard that the one and only tourist attraction in the town is the Sculpture Park so thought we'd better check it out.

Sala Kaew Ku is an utterly bizarre park of massive sculptures, some over 20m tall. Their are over 100 sculptures and all of them are made of concrete. The initial sculpture was created in 1974 by a guy from Laos called Luang Poo Boun Leua Sourirat who believed that he was half man half snake and that his skills to build such sculptures were given to him by a divine creature who he met in his youth whilst falling down a hole. He died in 1996 and the park is now looked after by some dedicated followers.

We wondered amongst pretty impressive towering concrete snakes and mythical creatures. It looked like he synthesized Buddhism and Hindu with many-armed goddesses, naga snakes and all sorts of human-animal hybrids dominate the scenery. Particularly entertaining is the Wheel of Life, depicting his theory of the cycle of life; you enter the concrete circle via a vagina/womb-shaped tunnel and walk the circle past statues depicting the stages.

We decided to head back and find some good Thai food. The next few days we chilled out in the town awaiting our trip to Bandung and Uncle Guy's farm.

Cooper Out

Love Dan & kat
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