On one of my final nights in Vientiane I went to visit a friend to watch some DVDs and play some video games. After we finished and sat around talking we started to hear cracking noises that sounded like gunshots. A little later we heard some sirens. It was close to midnight by now and it’s very strange to hear any loud noises at night. Even hearing sirens during the day is quite rare.

We went outside to see what all the commotion was. Perhaps this was a foolish thing to do and I did feel rather nervous about what could be happening. As we walked down the street we could see there were smalls groups of people outside their homes. Walking a little further we saw smoke rising into the sky. Now at the end of the street we could see the smoke was rising from a fire in a Wat (temple). Most Wats are made of wood so fires must be a extremely dangerous for them. The cracking noise that sounded like gun shots was probably just coming from the burning fire.

Strangely while we were watching from the side of the road a luxury car suddenly swerved to our side of the road and made a sudden stop because of a flat tyre. Several young Lao people got out, dressed as if they had been out at a club. It was a very strange incident to be happening at a very strange moment. It was a incredibly strange night.