Thursday, 31 March 2016

Work Experience Visits

Last week Grade 10 students were out on work experience.  Noni and Tiahna were at Green Discovery- an eco tourism business.

After learning about their work to promote Green Care, Green Discovery's program supporting urban Laos students to participate in outdoor activities, I went out for lunch with the girls.

They said follow us Miss Mary as they hopped on the scooter, headed off down the road and finally along the footpath in the wrong direction to the small restaurant - very Laos!.  It wouldn't be allowed at home!

Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Easter Vegetables

The Easter altar on Sunday was decorated with vegetable arrangements - cauliflowers, snake beans, pineapples, rose apples and eggplants.  Very different from Carmel's flowers on the altar at Whorouly, but still beautiful. 

The priest joked that he would be eating them for lunch. 

Sunday, 27 March 2016

Happy Easter

An omelette for breakfast will be my egg fix this Easter - wish they were chocolate!

Friday, 25 March 2016

Good Friday Fish


Growing up we always ate fish on Good Friday.

These three were for sale in the local market - but I left them there.

Thursday, 24 March 2016

Amusement for the locals

The local Lao people came out to greet us in villages and wave to us from the roadside.

There were  laughs and smiles and lots of Sabai dees (Hello in Laos) yelled out to us and occasionally you could here children shouting "Falang" which means foreigner.

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Nice morning for a Ride

Another early morning shot from the Team Dai Challenge.

I have to try and continue the riding regime and go out at 5.50am tomorrow.


Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Early morning riding

Mornings are not really my thing, but whenever I do get up and out of bed there is always a reward.  It was lovely on the Team Dai cycle to be passing by fields and villages as the sun rose.

Monday, 21 March 2016

A rooster avoiding cyclists

This rooster took to the roof as soon as we cycled into its village and chose to have a rest back beside his yard.

Sunday, 20 March 2016

Team Dai - River Crossing 3

Our final river crossing.  On the last day - all in our Team Dai jerseys we took this ferry over the Nam Ngum River.

Saturday, 19 March 2016

Team Dai River Crossing 2

Not quite a river - more a creek - but it had to be crossed and when had to keep the bike chain dry.

Friday, 18 March 2016

Team Dai River Crossing 1


We had a number of river crossings.  This was early on the second morning when a small punt took us, then the support vehicle over a small river.

Thursday, 17 March 2016

Monk on a Bike

This young monk on his bike with his umbrella accompanied us on the Team Dai challenge for a short period of time on our second last afternoon.
This is one of my favourite photos from the ride.  I like the color combination of the orange robes and the orange in Ginny's 2013 Team Dai jersey.

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

More Team Dai Photos - Arrival at Patuxy


Celebrating our arrival - back where we started- Patuxy- Vientiane's answer to the L'Arc d'Triomphe.  Thanks again to all who contributed to our fundraising - latest tally is over $12, 000 for Vientiane Rescue.

The photo shows the female contingent of the team.  We were a diverse group of women - Ages from 25 - 58, from around the globe - 5 Australians, 1 French, 3 Americans, 1 Vietnamese, 1 Chinese, but currently living in Thailand and Laos. 

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Laos style

The ladies at yesterday's breakfast wore their best silk jackets and sinhs (silk skirts), all in vibrant colours.



Monday, 14 March 2016

Clothing for a Special Occasion

 Men and women in Laos where a Pha Biang - or shoulder cloth on special occasion.  The male version seems to be checked cotton.  

However the female versions are ornate embroidered silk.

These were seen this morning, worn by guests to a special breakfast "alms giving" ceremony at our apartment.  It was associated with our land lady's son's going into the monastery for a week.


Friday, 11 March 2016

Great rides, Great views

The scenery on the Team Dai Challenge was amazing, particularly Day 2 when we rode to Vang Vieng past and through these karst limestone mountains.

This photo was taken at one of the high points on the trail, but one I had to get in the van to make.  Heat, rough dirt tracks and the reality of two more days of cycling led me to decide getting in the van was a much saner decision than grunting my way to the top only to collapse with heat exhaustion - which happened to several others.  I was able to enjoy the view and not worry about a treacherous descent.

Thursday, 10 March 2016

Team Dai Ladies having breakfast overlooking the Nam Ngum

 Breakfast on Tuesday morning, the last day of the Team Dai Challenge, was on the scenic riverfront deck at Vangsana Resort.
The previous afternoon I jumped directly into the pool as soon as I was off the bike.  120 + km,  the last few hours in 35 + heat - it was necessary.

It is a small world -  and an international world.  I hadn't met any of the women in the picture before - but established some connections.
Helen Keogh, front right is from Wangaratta - how weird, and has taught at VIS, and currently lives in Savannahket  in the south of Laos.
Ginny, middle on the left, works in Chiang Mai for a cafe/bakery chain called Joma and I am friends with one of her colleagues Hamish  (he is from NZ and his wife teaches at APIS in Chiangmai), who also works for Joma and who I catch up with when he is in Vientiane for work. Patricia and Annie are from Bangkok, although Patricia is originally from the US and Annie from France.  They mountain bike in Bangkok and surrounds with Andrew Duckworth (UK) a former colleague at APIS.

Thu at the front left is from Vietnam, has worked in Laos for close to five years,  and is the strongest rider on our morning training rides.

Last year Patricia was the only female on the Team Dai Challenge, but this year the ratios changed dramatically. There were eleven women and ten men.

For anyone with time to spare - or looking for distraction, Annie's husband is a photographer and also organised private tours/expeditions. Her stories were fantastic. She's off to bicycle in Mongolia next.
 Check out the links.
 His photographs of this area are wonderful http://www.jockmontgomery.com
and the tours exotic, inspiring and expensive.http://compassroseexpeditions.com/

Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Laos Windows 4

The "French"blue on the door and window on the upper storey of a traditional Laos building in Vientiane.

Monday, 7 March 2016

Laos Windows 3

Looking through the window of a bamboo wall of a rice store built near a village home on Don Khone island.

Sunday, 6 March 2016

Laos Windows 2

These would window shutters peak out from the windows of a "dormitory" for monks at Wat Chomcheng in Vientiane.

Saturday, 5 March 2016

Laos Windows 1

I have a "thing" about windows and doors.

I like this one with the flag in front.  It is part of a traditional Laos wooden home in a village not far from Luang Prabang

Friday, 4 March 2016

I work with some brilliant young people. Part 1

These two photos were taken at Vang Vieng, about 150km north of Vientiane when I visited in December with Tom and Will - who can be seen jumping into the blue lagoon.

Link to Vang Vieng Ecotourism video

Vang Vieng's main attraction is its spectacular setting as it is souKarst Mountains on the Nam Song and eco tourism.  

Noni Flint in Grade 10 investigated Ecotourism in Vang Vieng and how it supports economic development for the locals in  her Personal Project.  

The Personal Project is a major piece of work which requires research, developing specifications for a product, making the product, writing about there learning throughout the process and finally an exhibition. Most of the work is completed out of school hours.  The exhibition on Wednesday evening was fantastic and interesting with some amazing work produced by the Grade 10 students.

Noni produced a fantastic video which can be found on Youtube.  Please spend a few minutes to have a look at it.


Thursday, 3 March 2016

Team Dai - Raising Funds for Vientiane Rescue


Me, Leah (South Australia), Tracey (China) and Dirk (Netherlands), the VIS members of Team Dai.

Our jerseys arrived today and we met after school to sell raffle tickets to unsuspecting parents as they passed by with their children.

I am feeling excited and apprehensive at the same time.  It will be an amazing ride - but a challenge.
450km over 4 days!!!!!! Early mornings and long days and its starting to warm up - what have I done!!!

We are raising funds for Vientiane Rescue,the only roadside medical assistance available now in Laos.
In 2015 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.

Any donations would be welcome and appreciated.
THANKS SO MUCH TO THOSE WHO HAVE DONATED.
 Here is the GoFundMe  page

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Heimat - CDP Theme

Heimat is the german term chosen as the theme for March for the City Daily photo community.  It s a term difficult to explain in English, meaning homeland or where you belong, so the theme was to choose a photo that captures why you are – and want to be – in a particular city - in my case Vientiane.

I have chosen a photo from Wat Chomcheng as it is on the banks of the Mekong and the image captures the colour, the diversity the spiritual side and the daily life of Laos. Plus I love the orange of the Buddhist robes - its a colour that continually draws my attention.  

Photos from other CDP bloggers can be found here...

Tuesday, 1 March 2016