Very hot and then very wet!
Trip Start Oct 04, 2011
50Trip End Nov 29, 2011
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Luckily the festivities yesterday evening didn’t go on until too late - by law all bars/cafes/discos etc have to close at 11.30pm in Laos.
Another hot and sunny day today - must have been in the low 40’s again. Decided that a long walk in this heat was not the right way to start a day, so got a lift from the hotel to the Golden Stupa which is about a mile or so out of the centre. It is meant to house a part of Buddha’s breastbone and is very impressive in a slightly decaying way.
Then got a tuk tuk to the Patouxay Gate which is the Lao equivalent of the Arc de Triomphe. There is a very strong French influence in Vientiane - a lot of the roads are called Rue ….
From there we visited the main stupas - with regular breaks for a cold Beer Lao or an Orange Miranda (depending on who you are) - Orange Miranda is the Lao equivalent of Fanta (there are other colours as well but I’ve not tried them yet) - it’s that bright orange colour that would probably send small children hyperactive! All the temples are really gearing up to the main festivities tonight and tomorrow and are setting out tables to offer food to participants, preparing giant floats to put in the river with candles in them (this seems to be what every monk in Laos had been doing since we got here - they must have used miles of tissue paper and tons of glitter) . The temple next to our hotel even has an enormous bouncy castle in the grounds! The monks don’t behave like I imagined monks to behave - they have mobile phones, computers and at one temple we visited there were a group of young novices watching a pop video on television and singing along!
The stupas are very magnificent, usually with a lot of red and gold decoration and Nagas (snakes) trailing along the side of the steps up to them.
Got back to the hotel just in time as the heavens opened and we had our first (but probably not our last) tropical storm. Torrential rain and thunder and lightening - bad enough to silence all the music from the stalls around. It only lasted about an hour and its just as hot now as it was before the rain (and the music is back)
Very early pick up for the airport tomorrow and then I’m not sure about internet access for the next few days - talk to you all when we next can!