December 2009


http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/18/world/asia/18mekong.html?hp

It’s all happening in Vientiane with one of the biggest events in Lao history taking place with the 25th SEA games.

Here’s some footage of a pink elephant doing the laamvong:

I recently returned to Vientiane for a 5 day holiday. I was pleasantly surprised to see that things aren’t too different. The main complaints I heard were the increased amount of traffic, especially from cars, and that everything is being devoted to the SEA games, which means a lot of other work is being neglected. Apparently most schools have closed (as of the end of October) until the start of 2010. One reason given was that the Lao kids need to concentrate on their training for the opening ceremony of the SEA games.

I was happy to see most of my favourite restaurants are still around. Mak Phet has undergone a major upgrade, moving to a new location. Menu prices seem pretty similar. Accommodation prices have increased, probably due to the SEA games. I found my guesthouse was twice as expensive as my last visit there 2 years ago.

If anybody out there is going to the SEA games please let me know how it goes.

One great phrase I’ve heard to describe Laos is “The place where safety goes to die”. That’s more a reference to the crazy swings in Vang Vieng river tubing that anything else. If you ever go there you’ll understand what I mean. Or you can watch the video below.