Friday, February 27, 2009

SWF - 27 Feb 09


Some favorite sky pictures over the past week:


There were a few spots on the Mekong Riverbank where dragonflies hung in the air this morning.

early morn Mekong

Tree outlined by the river and the sunrise a few mornings ago.

Bodhi tree

When I returned from Xieng Khouang on Saturday, there was still a bit of sunset. I was amazed to see that the Bodhi tree near my house was covered with new leaves. When I left on Monday morning, the branches were bare.


One of my favorite views along Route 13, the main north to south road through Laos. This is a view of Patang - the Cliff Throne - about 50 kms. north of Vang Vieng.

This is my contribution to Skywatch Friday, whose members post pictures of the skies around the world.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

F for Food

Whoops! It's Saturday morning and I forgot about ABC Wednesday. It's been a busy week, so I'm just catching up with myself before I go back out into the field tomorrow.

Well, I'm sure many people think of F for Food, so here's my take on a few of my classical food shots over the past few months.

This is one of my favorite food stands for breakfast in Bangkok. When I got for a doctor visit, I get my blood draw then head over to this alley under the Skytrain for breakfast:


A food vendor in Huay Kwang Market in Bangkok. Oh, and she's selling fish, so got in another F.

Well, there are many varieties of F in the world. I'll try to see how many I can view on other people's blogs this weekend!

fish vendor

And back to Laos - another variation on Food stand. This woman is selling sticky rice and grilled frogs, fish and dried meat.

food stand

Monday, February 23, 2009

Monochrome Monday with colorful cats

Day 37 bw cats.jpg

I usually take pictures of the cats in color but I thought they look just as colorful in B&W.

For other monochromic maniacs, go to Monochrome Monday.

Mellow Yellow Monday - Temple Guardian

temple guardian.jpg

I'm not sure if this guardian looks more like a dragon or a lion protecting the entrance to a Buddhist Temple near downtown Vientiane.


Sunday, February 22, 2009

Shadow Shot Sunday - 22 Feb 09

While I was away in Xieng Khouang, the leaves on the Bodhi trees suddenly emerged. When I left on Monday morning, the tree next to my neighborhood temple was bare - and when I returned yesterday, the saucer sized leaves had sprung open. The new leaves are a pale, translucent green, and the shadows of the leaves on other leaves can been seen through the leaves.

shadows on Bodhi leaves

And here's a follow-up picture from my shot from last Sunday - whatever it is they planted has now started to grow. I'll take a picture next week to see if I can determine what they planted.

Click on the icon to see other shadow shots from around the globe.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Thursday Challenge: Pink

I couldn't find anything pink earlier this week but I was amazed by this vegetable garden in Xieng Khouang while I was on my walk this morning. When I downloaded the pictures, I saw how the rose jumps out of the picture in contrast with the darker greens of the vegetable garden.

pink rose2

pink rose

This is my contribution to Thursday Challenge, whose theme is 'Pink' this week.

Friday, February 20, 2009

SWF - 20 feb 09



It's the hazy and dry season - fog in the mornings, which chills the air. Then the sun comes out and starts to burn off the fog.

morning walk in mist

But it takes a while for the world to warm up; a farmer has to go to his fields at the crack of dawn.

village in phaxay

Mid-day in Phaxay, where we drove to visit a person who had been injured in a UXO accident and we provided some funds so he can raise pigs.

This is my contribution to Skywatch Friday, whose members post pictures of the skies around the world.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

ABC Wedesday: E for Elation

father n child

As I was sitting at a restaurant, I watched this father and son playing together. The baby looked elated by his discovery of his toy and the father seemed to glow in the child's enjoyment.

That's it for my E contribution for ABC Wednesday. I'm on dial-up so gotta sign off!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

That's my World! On the road

Day 32 TV at airport

I spent the day going from one place to another. Woke up in Vientiane, attended some meetings and flew to a project site. This was the scene at the airport in Vientiane. It's the only time I come even somewhat close to watching wrestling on TV.


I'm up in Xieng Khouang, taking around some new staff to meet the people we work with. So we ate out at the Sangna, one of the most popular of the twenty restaurants along the main drag.

This is posted for the photo meme That's My World!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Mellow Yellow Monday - Duckies

neighbors ducklings

This is as mellow as yellow as you can get. My neighbors thought I was daft taking pictures of the ducklings - they raise them and see them every day but I thought they were really cute.

This is my contribution to Mellow Yellow Monday. Click on the link or on the icon on the sidebar to see other forms of yellow around the world.

Monochrome Monday with Melons

Day 17 B n W melons

I was more impressed with the B&W shot of these melons than I was of the shot of the melons in color. Not sure if they look more appetizing - but they look more artistic.

For other shots of monochromes, go to Monochrome Monday

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Shadow Shot Sunday - 15 feb 09

field and shadows

The Mekong dries up and the sandbars emerge during the dry season. I'm not sure what they are planting in the sand bars, but the shadows in the trenches were very interesting - topographic.


People often have elaborate metal fences. The undulations of the fence made a shadow that looked like a serpent - at least for me. Not sure about anyone else's eyes.

tree shadow.jpg

This final shot is of the shadow of a tree on the street.

These photos are for Shadow Shot Sunday, an amazing collection of shadows and their objects around the world.

Temple Construction

Day 28 carving

I saw these carved boards by the front of my neighborhood temple, so I stop by in the mornings to check on their progress. I wondered when the craftsmen had been working on them.

On Saturday, I found them, so talked with them for a while as they worked.

Day 30 carver

Each of the windows takes about a week, though since the men work during the day and it's usually dark when they get off work, they mostly work on the weekends. They are donating their services to the temple, though the planks of rose wood (Mai duu in Lao) had to be bought. Rose wood is a hard, dense wood which everyone likes to use for furniture, mostly exported. Many trees have been cut and sent to Vietnam. This means that the cost has risen - so these boards are very expensive.


The other workman. Note the Pepsi cups behind him.

Finished window:

finished window

Wat Meuang Wa is one of the oldest Buddhist communities in the city. When I first moved here, there was an old community hall made of teak and two temple buildings and one dormitory for the monks. About five years ago, they tore down the wood building because it was falling apart, and put up a cement building which is mostly a dormitory and offices now. And two years ago, they tored down the Bodt, the building which houses the Buddha images. Interestingly enough, they did not move the larger Buddhas during the construction, but built a room around them. They have taken down the planks and have started to paint the detail work both inside and outside the building, even though the building structure itself is nowhere near completion.

This is the main Buddha image in the temple building:

wat meuang wa buddha.jpg

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Photo Hunt: Nautical

Lao is a landlocked country so the Mekong River takes the place of the ocean. Life revolves around the river, and many customs involve the legends of the river.

Naga Boats at Rest  16 October

These are Naga Boats (other cultures call them Dragon Boats). The naga are snake creatures which live under the water. When the Buddha was in meditation to seek the Middle Path, a thunderstorm blew up and the Seven Headed Naga King flared out his heads to protect the Buddha. Many communities along the river worship the naga and at the end of Buddhist Lent, have races so the naga can enjoy the activities of humans.

salavan boat racing

This race took place in Salavan in October 2008, along the Xedon River which flows into the Mekong at Pakse.

boat and laundry

There are still few roads in many parts of Laos, so a lot of good are shipped by boat. People live on the boats - and there's always the need to do laundry.

boat on Mekong

Boat at sunset along the Mekong.

This is my contribution to Photo Hunt.

Friday, February 13, 2009

SWF - 13 feb 09


This was a week of looking up at the skies, especially over the tops of Buddhist temples. Lao Buddhist temple have beautiful roof ornaments, and often they have layered roofs, in contrast to Thai temples which are usually single-roofed and lack the roof ornaments.

Day 27 moon and temple

I took the above picture when I was leaving my house to go running in the morning, just as the just-past-full moon was setting.

temple roof and bird

Another roof line. I hadn't realize that the bird was in the photo until I had downloaded them later in the day.

temple construction

I thought the above temple was interesting. The main part of the roof is just being started - yet, the ornamentation at each end is nearly complete.

People have been donating to build a lot of new buildings for temples. While I do like the old wood buildings, they are plagued by termites and rot. When people rebuild the temples, they usually build using concrete and polychrome colors. This is the start of the mural at the top of the temple in my neighborhood:

roof of temple

It will probably be depicting this scene, of the Buddha surrounded by his disciples:

detail of temple roof

The pointy shapes along the roofs are flames, which represent both purity, as well as burning away the outer layers of illusion, which is the goal of meditation. "To see things as they really are."

In spite of the blur, I liked this photo, taken on the full moon night this week:

strange moon shot

The full moon is special to Buddhists. Each of the major holidays in the Buddhist calendar are defined by the full moon - the birth, enlightenment and passing into Nirvana of the Buddha all are celebrated on the full moon days.

This is my contribution to Skywatch Friday, whose members post pictures of the skies around the world.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

ABC Wednesday: Some D's

Just before the weather gets really hot, people collect the tall grass and dry the stalks on every available flat space. Then they braid the stalks into brooms.

drying grasses

Here's a vendor selling the brooms door to door:

selling brooms

And a sign for a favorite Lao dish - a special kind of duck salad:

duck salad

Maybe the reader doesn't wish to know the details about this kind of salad.

I just wonder - is this Daffy Duck or Donald Duck promoting the virtues of eating other ducks?

This post is for ABC Wednesday, which going into it's fourth round. Check out other people's alphabets from around the world!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

My World Today in Vientiane


When I went out for lunch today, I saw this basket cart. Love baskets, and there are some beautiful ones here in Laos, especially those made from rattan.

For other pictures from around the world, check out That's My World!

Friday, February 06, 2009

SKY - 6 Feb 09


As I was driving to work this morning, I noticed people standing by the side of the road and other folks sitting on the back of motorcycles gazing up into the sky. When I stopped at the red light I was able to get a picture of what they were all staring at:


This past week was so intense, I didn't have much time to contemplate the sky. Next week will be better, and I can lift my face from my work to look out the window.

This is my contribution to Skywatch Friday, whose members post pictures of the skies around the world.