Sunday, December 21, 2014

Lao Trip 8.6a - Vientiane Temples

Day 6, I checked into CNN and BBC World News, on TV, to get caught up on what was happening on the planet – or, at least what the major news outlets considered newsworthy. There was a lot of bad news and I felt myself fortunate to be in Southeast Asia, where world attention is no longer drawn.

I again partook of the Duang Deuane continental breakfast and then set out on what I considered to be my first official “tourist day” in Lao in the three years I’ve been visiting the country. I had determined that I needed to visit the three religious centers in Vientiane that held the most interest to me, even though, as I’ve told you before, “I’m not a temple guy.”

Funny about that, though. I seem to be spending a lot of time in them!

First, I went to Pha That Luang, which is not a temple but a chedi (stupa). It is probably Lao’s most well-known image, even appearing on the country’s seal.

Then I went to Haw Phra Kaew.

I broke for lunch, as all the temples close mid-day, and did some shopping for a shirt and a cellphone charger.

After lunch time, I wound up my temples tour at Wat Si Saket. All my connections were via samlor (tuk-tuk), except that I walked back along the river front from Wat Si Saket to the area of my hotel.

Before returning to the Duang Deuane, I stopped off for a beer break at the outdoor eatery by the tree between the hotel and the night time vendors. I liked it cuz it’s outside and is frequented almost 100% by Lao people. The middle-aged owner/operator – recognizing me from the day before – had me sit down with her and her friend. I got the feeling she was kinda trying to set me up with her friend. I just played dumb and innocent. I’ve learned to be good at that.

Back in my hotel room, I took a much-needed “air-con” break, did laundry, showered and placed a video call to Thip, using my Samsung Galaxy 3 smart phone.

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