Monday, 29 February 2016

Sunday, 28 February 2016

Road Making Season

There has been a flurry of road making in Vientiane over the past month.  Life goes on as normal while the roads are made.  Today I watched as the concrete truck delivered the concrete into this small street, the man in gumboots spread it out by marching up and down in it and the guy in the thongs was spreading it out using a plank.  Mean while at the side of the road the ladies in the salon watched as they had their hair and nails done - Life in Laos.

Saturday, 27 February 2016

Beer by Bike

Beer Lao Delivery by Scooter - and some Pepsi too.

I like the colour co-ordination of his shorts with the beer crates and the yellow stripe of the road barrier.

Cheers for the weekend.

Friday, 26 February 2016

Friday Flowers - Sacred Marigolds

Marigolds are a sacred flower in Buddhism. They are used in offerings and garlands for Buddha.  These were for sale in a market in Luang Prabang.

Thursday, 25 February 2016

Banana lady

Banana stalls (wooden  trailers) line a section of Khouvieng Blvd, the main road from my apartment to school.  This lady had stopped to inspect the products before buying a bunch for 10,000 kip (approx $2.00).  The banana variety changes with the season and the quality is also varied.  These bananas would be imported from Thailand, although there are banana plantations in the north of Laos.

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Mother Tongue Day

Yes that is the title of the event - It is not about your mother's mouth - but language.
VIS has a str
ong mother tongue program to support student to learn their own language and get credit in the IB program.  Today we celebrated the diverse program.  Lao food, Thai candy, Danish Lego, Norwegian vikings, Japanese origami, French pin the flag on the Eiffel tower, Korean games and costumes, Chinese puzzles, and more. 

The German's didn't have beer and the Spanish stand didn't have Rjoca or Sherry, the French lacked wine, and I the Vientnamese were there but without food or drink.

My contribution was to use the words "Bonza", "Gidday" and "Mate" a lot in advisory - but the students were less than impressed.

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Monday, 22 February 2016

Monks Sweeping

I featured the brooms on the weekend - today its the young monks in action with the brooms busily completing their morning chore of sweeping the courtyard.

Sunday, 21 February 2016

Another buddhist ceremony

There was considerable action tonight at Wat Simeuang - the temple near where I live.  So I went in to investigate. A sea of white clad devotees sat filling the grounds of the temples - all connected by white strings.

I loved this lady's hat/beanie and the fact that most of the young people were attached to their devices as well as the sacred strings.

Everyone- young, old - male, female, were dressed in white and tied together by white strings, sitting listening to chanting and lectures and preparing offerings of flowers and candles.  Some statues of Buddha were also wrapped in white cloth,

White is a color of purity and longevity in Buddhism.  The strings link people in common prayer.

 I am not sure what the ceremony was for  (google suggests Nirvana Day) but it looked like they were staying the night as they has pillows and blankets.  

Saturday, 20 February 2016

Still life with brooms

I visited a temple last week where the monks were busy sweeping the temple grounds.

Once finished they placed the brooms against the steps ready to use later in the day.

Friday, 19 February 2016

Marigolds by the Mekong

Friday flowers - Mekong Marigolds - taken on they cycle ride along the river.  Marigolds are an important Buddhist symbol and form offerings at temples.  They are one of the few flowers seen in gardens here. There are small plots of them in fields along the river, grown to be taken into Vientiane for sale as offerings outside the many temples.

Thursday, 18 February 2016

A Long Ride Ahead

A long ride for a good cause.  450 km - a scarily long distance - especially when it is to be covered in only 4 days in March.

Every year Vientiane's cycling team, Team Dai, embarks on a multi-day cycling tour and raises funds for a local cause.  This year, the 9th edition of the ride will take us 450km over four days on roads and tracks and trails between Vientiane and Vang Vieng. I have been training on the weekends - on roads and trails by the Mekong and in the mornings (5.50 AM training rides - not a Mary hour)

Team Dai are raising funds for Vientiane Rescue, which provides a free and equitable emergency service to all accident victims in and around Vientiane. Vientiane Rescue is the only roadside medical assistance available in Laos and in 2015 the volunteers rescued approximately 4,000 people.  The service relies entirely on volunteers and private donations. Funds raised by Team Dai will help the volunteer team operate 24/7 on the streets of Vientiane.

Please donate to the 2016 Team Dai Challenge, to support Vientiane Rescue. Here is the GoFundMe page:


Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Working in the Coriander field

While it is lovely and green and smells divine, I think working in the coriander field would be back breaking work.

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Monday, 15 February 2016

100 kms on a Sunday morning

 Another ride with Team Dai this morning - training for our fundraising ride in March.  100km today was more than enough - but have to do 450 in 4 days  - it will be a challenge.

We are raising funds for Vientiane Rescue.

They are the only roadside medical assistance available now in Lao.  In 2015, the volunteers rescued over 4000 people.  Vientiane Rescue relies entirely on volunteers and donations.  The funds we raise will help the team operate 24/7 on the streets of Vientiane.

I would appreciate any donations you can donate to the 2016 Team Dai Challenge, to support Vientiane Rescue at the GoFundMe page:

 I rode into town with Emily, who was finding it tough going.  

We stopped on the way out at a cafe favoured by Laos cyclists.  The fellow with the flash red Specialised (in the yellow)  and his mates wanted his photo taken with our group - not sure why, but we obliged.

Sunday, 14 February 2016

The Eggplant Man

Last Saturday on my ride south along the Mekong out of Vientiane, I explored some market garden areas.  This man was in a field of eggplants and happily sold us a bag of fresh baby purple eggplants.

Linda made a Laos version of baba ghanoush and I made a yummy spicy eggplant "stew".

Saturday, 13 February 2016

Mr Kila's Wedding

 Tonight (Friday night), I went to Kila's wedding reception.  Kila works at VIS, in the property management area, but he was in the secondary office with us.  He is wonderful - happy and helpful - and young - 24.

It was very kind of him to invite me (and 499 others) to the celebration.

Here are some fairly bad phone photos of a random guest and a VIS group.Kila is in the shiny grey suit with the pink tie and his wife Tar is glamorous in the pink with all the gold decoration.  Ting, in the apricot works in/runs the secondary office.

The lady in green shows the traditional dress wore by most guests - lots of colorful silk - with many from the groom's family wearing green - she went to the extreme of green nail polish as well.

Friday, 12 February 2016

Pink Friday Flowers

The combination of pink flowers on this prickly plant against the garish pink tiles at a temple attracted my eye.

Happy Friday Flowers.

Thursday, 11 February 2016

Its not that cold

Like this dog I have been wearing an extra layer in the mornings as its cool.  Not really cold enough for this dog (and others around town) to be in a jacket.  

However, I am happy to be able to wear a cardigan or vest and a scarf to work in the mornings.

The recent cold snap was difficult for people as they are not equipped for the cold.

The paper today showed people in the north receiving donated warm clothing.  It also listed livestock killed by the cold snap.  The list included 1400 head of cattle, 473 buffalo and 1,600 kg of frogs!

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

OHS in the Dye Factory

These are the workers in the dye factory we stopped at on Saturday.  They were lovely people, welcoming and happy for me to take photos and look inside the pots.  

Obvious no OHS rules as one fellow was wearing thongs and the other was smoking and wearing shorts with his gumboots - safe working conditions as you move around fires and  boiling solutions.

Monday, 8 February 2016

Chinese New Year

Rockets and fireworks can be heard outside as the locals begin celebrating Chinese New Year.  Lanterns are strung around town, and school.

China is a huge presence in Vientiane and Laos - the economy (what there is of it) is driven by Chinese investment.

Across the road from my apartment Chinese investors - using Chinese workers- are building the "World Trade Centre".  Construction has stopped as workers go home for New Year with their families, but the lantern is still there - slightly obstructing the Laos flag.

Sunday, 7 February 2016

Silk Rainbow

 These skeins of colorful silk thread drying on racks caught my eye as I cycled a dusty and bumpy road this morning.  So I stopped to take some photos and explore.  The rainbow colors of the hanks were beautiful, colorful and simple.

Saturday, 6 February 2016

Rice on a Bike

 Loaded up with rice on her scooter, this lady prepares to take off on her scooter.  Hope she doesn't have to go too far.

Friday, 5 February 2016

Shakespeare Live in Laos

Shakespeare is alive at VIS this week, with a Shakespeare performance on each night of the week and a festival at lunchtime and break time.  The British Embassy has been supportive - the Ambassador opened the performance last night - and has provided banners.
Today at lunchtime we had stilt walking, pentanque and minstrels.

Thursday, 4 February 2016

Lorna at Mrs Kung's

Here's Lorna enjoying a sticky rice pancake and mango at Mrs Kung's.  Lorna will be home by now so sticky rice might be off the menu.

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Mrs Kung's Cafe

Scenes from a Coffee House is the theme for the City Daily Photo community this month.

This is the view at Mrs Kung's cafe, hints of green and sticky rices baskets, looking out on the small alley in which this is hidden.

The lao coffee is very good as are the sticky rice pancakes with mango - yummmm 

Photos from other city daily photo contributors can be found at this link

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

The Sunday Bunch

A gorgeous ride along the Mekong on Sunday morning.  My first real bike ride here and a great opportunity to get out of town and ride some bumpy roads and tracks, all up about 60km.  I had a wonderful massage later in the afternoon!

Great to connect with this international "bunch" of riders from China, Hungary, the Netherlands, Australia and Germany.  I am planning on doing a fundraising ride with them in March.