Saturday, October 13, 2012

Vientiane: Around Town

Here are some shots of me and Tim wandering around Vientiane... hopefully it gives you a sense of how small and relaxed the city is. Sabaidee.

The national library... ha!  So small and cute:

The black stupa, That Dam... located in the middle of a traffic circle, covered in plant life, and believed to be inhabited by a seven-headed naga who protected the Lao people from the Siamese invasion in the 1800s:

Tuk-tuks and jumbos and songtheows, everywhere you see.  When the drivers are awaiting a fare, many of them unroll a hammock, sling it across the passenger area of their vehicle and grab a nap:

Tim and I hit up the weekend night market down by the Mekong in the city's new riverside park.  There were several vendors selling this filled pancakes/crepes for kids that they put in plastic cone bags covered in cartoon characters:

We also watched as people flocked to the many booths offering paint-your-own pottery, focused on piggy banks and Angry Birds:

The night market was pretty similar to the one we attended in Hue, Vietnam, and has lots of booths selling clothes for locals, food, activities for kids (in Vietnam it wasn't paint-your-own pottery, though, it was "put your name on a piece of rice and suspend it in a pendant filled with a weird gelatinous, glittering substance."):

At the night market we also saw this awesome, portable cocktail bar.  I want one:

The next day we wandered by this ice scultpture contest outside of one of Vientiane's hotels.  Let me tell you, those people had to work fast, as the ice was rapidly melting in the 95 degree heat:

We had an awesome modern Lao meal, including the pomelo cocktail below, at Makphet, a great restaurant that trains street youth in cooking and hospitality... I bought their cookbook and can't wait to try some of the recipes:

We took another tuk-tuk ride around town.  Tim frowned:

We savored reasonably priced Belgian beers at Chokdee, a Tin Tin-themed bar (Belgian beer in Jakarta is heinously overpriced- like $15-20 for one):

You'll notice in the photo below that I look weird/old/tired... that's because whilst in Vientiane I had a strange allergic reaction to god-knows-what, which caused my eyelids to a) swell up and b) burn, and then subsequently c) wrinkle and d) peel.  Not sure what caused it, but it seems fine now.  Another country, another freak skin incident:

Yet another tasty meal, this one at Lao Kitchen... sticky rice, jeow, laab, Beerlao, sour and spicy soup... mmm:

Street-side take-away noodles:

Sunset and awesome cocktails on the Mekong at the kick-ass Spirit House bar:

Spirit House cocktails, from left to right: the Kojiro Martini (Tanqueray, dry sake and pickled ginger), I can't remember the middle one and it's not on their online menu, but it was an awesome cardamom infused rum, P&P Granite (pomelo, pineapple and cava):

Deep Fried Sun-Dried Beef, served with a traditional spicy Lao dip:

Beautiful riverside sunset:

Cool harvest moon:

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