Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas Eve

I always bring my camera around with me. All locations in Lao are photogenic. I was walking back to get my bicycle from the repair shop this afternoon when I saw these monks walking towards me. All Vientiane roads used to be lined with these big trees - though many have been cut down. Many are diseased but many have to make way for the new road building projects. 

People used to wonder about why trees in Asia are painted white. Some people speculated that it's to prevent beetles from getting into the tree at their bases. But most people laugh and saw - the color prevents vehicles from crashing into them, especially during the time when there were no street lights.

After taking the overnight bus to Vientiane, I spent the day trying to stay awake at the office. There were a lot of little things to take care of, so the morning slipped away with phone calls. Organized a meeting for later in the week, got information on activities from four provinces for my quarterly reports, received an evaluation report. Etc and etc. Very productive, but I had planned to go up to Xieng Khouang for Christmas but the planes were full and I didn't want to spend Christmas Day on a ten-hour bus ride.

I took my bicycle for an overhaul. When I returned in the afternoon, I sat with the shop owner, who told me about how she and her family, although Buddhist, had gone to Christmas activities at various churches in the past. "They would have singing or skits, give out gifts and have food."
My own staff in Salavan plan to have a Christmas party with our counterparts.

Some other scenes around Vientiane:

While the Pratuxay - the victory door - is similar in structure with its French cousin, the bas relief molded around the structure are all Lao images. This view is taken in the late afternoon, looking up Lane Xang Avenue.

During lunch time, I stopped by the old Talad Sao, the morning market. Although the outside of the buildings look old, they were constructed about 13 years ago. Now, with progress, a new mall is going up next to the old market. Those vendors who can afford the rents, have been moving to the new building, which has air conditioning and fancier stores. The old market continues to function, with a section for silk and traditional handicrafts, another section for household items such as washing machines and flat-screen TVs, and food stalls. This market below sells Hmong embroidery and applique and is pretty typical of the stalls in the market.

1 comment:

jientje said...

Merry Christmas!!!
I came to wish you all the best, ...
and tag you with a Hoopla!
I'm so sorry!!!
It's on my blog now, they made me do it, please?