Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Pig skin will never look the same

The road side stalls looked busy and interesting so I stopped to investigate. What were they selling? What was so aromatic? What was it in piles on the table tops?

I still don't know what the red things are - but some form of pig intestine is my diagnosis. 


On closer inspection the brown strips were spikey - AGGGHHHHHH - I shouldn't have looked to close - it was boar skin, bristles and all.

The smell was gross. 

I don't know what the locals do with it or how it is cooked.  There is a lot of crackling for sale, so maybe this is the base ingredient. I'm not sure I do want to know.  I am gagging as I type as the pictures bring to mind the horrible smell.  I may never be able to eat roast pork again.

Sunday, 27 September 2015

Same Same but Newer

I have another brand new SCOOPY.
Love it, love the retro look, love zooming around on it.
A shame the original scoopy was stolen from behind my apartment block on Thursday night.
The land lady felt bad about it and was pressured by V.I.S. to replace it.
So after an adventurous Saturday morning, touring Honda dealers in Vientiane, I now have a new Scoopy and do not want it stolen.
Locks, gates, CCV and a night guard will hopefully help.

Shapely nails

Finger tips of a reclining Buddha at That Luang temple complex.

Friday, 25 September 2015

The Virtue of Unions in the Work place

 One sight that amazed me on my Sunday afternoon drive was this huge building site.

1.  It was huge by Laos standards

2. It was  beyond Pakenham, by Laos and Melbourne standards.

3. It was a hive of industry on a Sunday

4. As I looked closer and then zoomed in with the camera, it became evident the workers were busy and unprotected.

5. No hard hats, No fluoro vests, no steel capped boots, No safety scaffolding, No working in temperatures over 35 C regulations

Lots of team work, very little technology

I would not want to be up there and I would not want anyone I know or love to be up there.

Thursday, 24 September 2015

So its not the Monash Freeway

This is a section of the road I was on last Sunday.  You can see that it is wide and there are not potholes, yet, so compared to the other roads of Vientiane and Laos it is a freeway.

Wednesday, 23 September 2015


The women's shops along the road, that was not quite like the Monash freeway, I traveled on Sunday afternoon were not quite the voguish boutiques of Chadstone.  I loved the umbrellas over the headless mannequins.

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Sunday Drive to Pakenham

Well not quite Pakenham, but it felt like it. 

Yesterday afternoon I took the scooter for a Sunday drive to explore the outskirts of Vientiane.  It seemed like I was driving forever past houses, shacks, shops and petrol stations. Almost  like being on the Monash freeway- it was three lanes in both directions, narrowing to two then one lane and of course there were bottle necks and traffic jams.

There was no Fountain Gate shopping centre, but about 20 km out I found this long row of roadside shops selling clay cooking pots, basketware and bamboo items.

Monday, 21 September 2015

Another Drummer Boy

Drums and drummers seem to be a common feature of the Wats in Vientiane.  The drums ring out at different times of the day.  Not sure if its to a schedule or just boys having fun and making noise.

Sunday, 20 September 2015

Bloody Duck Soup

Bloody Duck Soup! Not Beep Duck Soup, but bloody duck soup as in it tasted of blood.

I love Duck and often choose it on the menu so Anna Duck Grill was definitely a restaurant to try.

The duck was grilled, chopped and gristly bits delivered to the table - not the best duck I have ever eaten.

It was accompanied by soup.  It was dark and hard to see, but one taste and I knew it was not for me.  There were also bits in it - bits from the inside of the duck.

Luckily the waitress kept re filling my glass with Beer Laos.

One restaurant I will not be returning to.

Friday, 18 September 2015

Umbrella vs Helmet

A damp  ride to work on the scooter this morning.  As I rode through the rain I was wondering why many locals all want to protect their head from the rain, but not from a brain injury.

What's behind the Blue Door

The Great Laos Garment Company - in reality a sweat shop.  

It's also in the embassy area of the city.  I haven't seen much action, but occasionally see groups of young girls going in, or rushing out at break time to the food vendors nearby.

Garment construction is a major employer in Vientiane.

Thursday, 17 September 2015

Lady on a Bicycle

And it won't be me!

My bicycle was stolen last night!!!!

Along with two others, belonging to teachers living in the same apartment block, together with TV and electrical appliances from the apartments below which are still being set up.

It must be an inside job, plenty of workers (very poor and poorly paid) around.

The village chief has been notified.  I don't think the please have been told, but we don't expect much from them.

No cycling for a while.

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Home Sweet Home

This is my space for the foreseeable future.  

I chose a two bedroom apartment so the living area is a good size as well as having plenty of room for visitors.  COME ON DOWN (or UP depending on your world perspective) to LAOS.

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

My New View

The view from my window. Typical Laos style buildings, a mixture of new and old and the very new. The street has not got an identifiable name.  To give the location I refer to the French clinic, to the left out of the picture,  or the Guru shop on the corner with the main road further to the right.  It will be a view I will become very familiar with.

Monday, 14 September 2015

The Blog is Back

Off line for two weeks as I moved into my apartment BUT there was no internet.

Then when the internet was connected my computer wouldn't work.  Its fixed now as it needed a new section of power connector.  Luckily I went to Chiang Mai for a long weekend and was able to replace it there.  There are no apple dealers  and few repair places.

Thanks to Buddha or the communists we had a day off on Friday, so I took the opportunity to go back to Chiang Mai and catch up with friends and colleagues.  It was great to be on a scooter zooming around the moat and the city walls of the old city.

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

The Russians are in the neighbourhood too.

When I first walked around the block from Jo and Mark's house I wondered what this masterpiece of concrete brutalist communist architecture was.  Of course when I completed the block and found the front of the building it all made sense.  Yes the Russian embassy and compound.