Sabaidee! Bonjour! Hello! Friday, December 24, 2010 - Time flies. It's already Christmas Eve.
Our day was busy. Today - we met people and visited sites. Very beautiful videos shot by myself and Ken and numerous photographs were taken by Setha, Cedric and Ari.
For breakfast: Laotian sausages, dill omelets and of course the great baguette.
Close to the beautiful residence where we are currently staying, lives in a sculptor, Manith. We'll be visiting him later on today. Ken met him in 2009. He was glad to see that Ken again, for whom he had made jewelry for last year. We filmed carving section of rigid wood; a pensive Buddha which was attracting. In his small workshop which is very rudimentary, he worked with skill and patience using small tools. He will end this carving for Ken in the coming days.
Quickly after meeting with Manith, we made our way to the Wat Xieng Khuan Park. The accessing road is partiallly under repair, therefore you need a car in
good condition and of course, a good driver- Kene, Panoy's nephew. We arrived there in about thirty minutes. This site was created in 1958 and is located near the Mekong. It was significantly smaller than I had imagined. The sculptures of Buddhist and Hindu influences are catchy to the eye. Many of the sculptures are close to each other. The reclining Buddha is impressive. The pumpkin in the dragon's mouth, allows a beautiful view of the whole park. After that, we made our way to Wat Inpeng near downtown Vientiane.This temple has colorful facades of guilded carved wood.
Mosaics of glass give it a unique cachet. Small temples nearby, home to religious figures, charmed by the bright and contrasted colors. These invite people to gather.
Next stop: shoot the sunset over the Mekong River's promenade, near the central statue. Beautiful shades of orange and pink. It is nearly 6 pm. Visitors rub shoulders along residents who walk on the wide sidewalk chatting. Children play soccer as well as sepak takraw. This new site seems quite popular. But major construction work does not allow us to appreciate the magnitude of the Mekong.
On our way back home, Ken offers us a treat: ice cream at Swensen's. Setha, Ari, Mel, Kene, Cedric, Ken and I feast on delicious sundaes before dinner.
At home, we had a good dinner: delicious chicken soup, fragrant herbs, cabbage sprinkled with traditional oil, small pieces of beef bathed in locally grown vegetables and of course, some good hot rice.
Ken finds a solution to facilitate our departure to Bangkok. After numerous calls, an airline offers us a reasonable fare and
schedule that can accomodate our group. We will leave on December 28 in the afternoon and we will fly from Undon Thani,Thailand near the Laos border to Bangkok, which will give us a little more time in Vientiane. While Ken has company over later in the evening, I discuss with Sengkeo. Setha and Ari are out with Mel and friends. Cedric is still recovering. He needs sleep and gain strength. I chat with Ken until about midnight.
I'd like to wish everyone in Canada and elsewhere a merry Christmas!