Saturday, September 27, 2008

Skywatch Friday for 26 September


It's getting to the end of the rainy season so the skies are dramatic - gray mornings followed by clear skies. We have some great sunsets like this one:

sunset on Mekong

I took the above picture of the Mekong River from the levee near my house.

Sybounheung Buddha

The villagers built a wall of sandbags to protect these Buddha images from the floods. The hacked Bodhi tree and the sandbags give the temple a besieged look.


I took this picture in the early morning earlier this week. Rainy season is coming to an end.

This is my contribution to an international group of people who post pictures of skies over at Skywatch Friday

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Tuesday morning

I can't believe it, stumbled out of bed at 4:30. I didn't realize the time until I had turned the computer on and slapped myself on my forehead. That action thoroughly woke me up so I decided to make the most of my extra hours awake.

The early morning is beautiful. I boiled up some more chicken pho and sat outside, facing east and the sunrise as I ate breakfast. Just as the sky was brightening, the halfmoon and some bright stars light up the east, with the foreground of palm trees, roofs of neighbor's houses, and TV aerials.

Now I'm off on a short walk.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Typical Monday

I arrived at work on time because I had an appointment to interview a job applicant at 8:30. He neither showed up or called. I'm scratching my head because we just talked on Friday. But we had two other job applicant interviews during the day - both with strong qualifications. Will check references.

We had our weekly management meeting, which now seems to get the week off to a good start. We're a small organization so the meeting is very relaxed and the dept. heads enjoy getting things off their chests so we can problem solve together.

Finally left office after 6 pm. I thought briefly about going to the gym, but felt too mentally tired. Stopped at the local market and bought fresh pho noodles and vegetables. Went home, played with the kittens, and make a fantastic chicken vegetable soup to combine with the cooked noodles. Drove the cats crazy with the smell of the chicken boiling.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Even in exotic places...

May seem strange that in exotic Vientiane, refrigerators still have to be de-iced, and the contents of the refrigerator have to be examined and kept or tossed. So that was done this weekend.

Going through clothing that I have dumped on the floor and put everything away. Or try to find things. My landlady sometimes gets into the main part of my house and puts things away for me (or maybe the preposition I should use is 'from' me).

And the high point of my day today - two of the kittens stayed out all night and I couldn't find them this morning. When they finally appeared around noon, I tried to lure them back into the house - they escaped under the car, but when I tried to find them on the other side of the car, they had disappeared.

I guess every cat owner should figure out what comes next. I opened the hood of the car, and there they were. The calico was sleeping on the battery and the black kitten was sniffing around the oil dipstick. I didn't think to bring my camera out with me.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Skywatch Friday for 19 September


Life has been too busy on this side of the world, so I'm catching up with some sky shots from the past two weeks.

The first set of pictures are from Salavan. On Monday, the 15th, the day after the full moon, Salavan had it's boat racing festival. More on that on the blog post. It was much nicer looking at the people, the boats, the water and the sky rather than looking at our feet. It thunderstormed the night before and most of the morning, just clearing before the boat racing.

This is the view looking downriver, towards the municipal water system.

salavan boat racing

Because of the crowds, the heat and the mud, we stayed only for two races. Vapy vs. Pakse is shown here.

salavan boat racing

And just past the finish:

Salavan boat racing

A good time was shared by all.

September is the rainiest month here - constant rain, some clearing then thunderstorms. Here's the view behind my house one evening:

mt and rainbow

As soon as I saw the rainbow, I went running outside.

double rainbow.jpg

Although the double rainbow did stretch across the sky, by the time I was in a place where I could get a good picture of it, the rain started to come down harder and the rainbow had lost its glint.

This is my contribution to fun group of people who post pictures of the skies from all around the world. For more pix, go to Skywatch Friday

Friday, September 05, 2008

The floods in Lao

For most areas touched by the mid-August floods, the waters have receded and people have been getting on with their lives. I've seen people attempting to replant rice, even though there's no security that they will have enough water to last until harvest. Usually the rains stop by early October, then the rice dries out enough for cutting over the next few weeks. Most people start harvesting mid-October through end of November. The local variety of rice grows over a 4 month long period.

I flew back from Xieng Khouang and saw the flooded areas around the Nam Ngum area. Rains in the mountains flow into the reservoir and it was at a dangerous level in mid-August so they had to release water. Along with the water backing up from the Mekong, the whole area along the Nam Ngum flooded.

flood areas

flood areas

The Lao government responded quickly, with negotiations with Thailand for sand and donations of sandbags, as well as providing food, water and lodging for people displaced by the floods. There still is a lot of cleanup and repair to do now, as well as trying to prevent this from happening in the future.

Thursday, September 04, 2008


My country program's website is online at World Education Laos. I'd love some feedback from anyone who goes to visit the site. If you stop by, leave a comment here.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

G week

It's been a tough few weeks and I'm just catching up on blogging. Well, I have to deal with all this stuff because what else would I write about? I think my NaNoWriMo novel will be about a free-spirit kind of person having to take on the responsibilities of country director in a small country in Asia.

On to my G's -

Garlic is a major cash crop during the dry season. I visited a friend's village for Lao New Year - this is the underside of their house. They gave me a gift of three bunches of this garlic - the cloves are small and a bit difficult to peel but the taste is both sweet and strong.

From ABCs

Garlands for sale next to the Hindu Temple in Bangkok. This whole street has Indian restaurants, Northern and Southern, with booths selling garlands between them.

From ABCs

Also from Xieng Khouang Province - Grazing Water Buffalo. This picture was taken at the beginning of the year. Although Laos is a tropical country, it gets cool between December and February with early morning fog:

From ABCs

Garden in the early morning. This was also taken in Xieng Khouang during the cool season.

From ABCs

A picture from Salavan Province - Goats out for a stroll. People raise many goats here, mainly for the meat. This part of the country is very hot so I imagine it would be difficult to try to milk the goats and make cheese.

From ABCs

For more of ABC Wednesday contributions, go to ABC Wednesday

Situation to the south of here

A certain neighboring country has just been a mess. Since a coup in September 2006, followed by a military government and then elections at the end of last year, the previous situation of corruption has not gotten any better. Looks like there's violence and who knows how things will end up.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Events in my news

Today was the first day of school, and crazy to navigate the streets with parents driving their children to school, or kids running across the street in front of cars, and other kids showing off their new skills at riding bicycles. 13 year olds riding motorcycles are the worst.

After a morning meeting, I caught the plane to Xieng Khouang, where I'll spend the week working with staff and attending a quarterly planning meeting. The weather here is just so nice, starting to feel autumn cool, with the rain starting to taper off.