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Pictures from Laos: Life in Vientiane (August 2010) -
Traffic in Vientiane (29.08.2010)
With 350.000 inhabitants Vientiane is a relatively small capital, but the traffic has increased a lot over the last years and now there is a daily traffic chaos in the city centre. For the 5 km to the language school I need nearly half an hours by car. With the motorbike it’s faster, at least if you adapt to the local way of driving and forget about traffic rules.
Here one typical budda statue. There are many of them everywhere and people like to come to these places for meditation. In Attapeu it is similar, but there are not so many temples and the buddhism is more mixed up with animism.
Buddhist temple (29.08.2010)
This is one of the numerous buddhist temples in Vientiane. While walking through the city it feels as if half of the city is made out of buddhist temples and one bigger and more splenderous than the other. Usually there are several buildings near to the temple with a big wall around everything. The buddhist monks live inside these places.
These small houses are placed in front of nearly every house. It is used for daily offerings of food, flowers and other decoration to the spirits. People hope that the spirits will like the small house and therefore not enter the real house they are living in.
Traffic sign (29.08.2010)
What do you think is written on this traffic sign? :-
In the beginning it is a bit confusing while driving through Laos because most of the traffic signs are written in Lao language. And even though I can read them today, it goes usually to fast while driving. But this traffic sign is very common, it says: you can turn right, but you have to be careful!
This is the mighty Mekong, which flows from Tibet through Laos, Cambodge and Vietnam into the South China Sea. It is often referred to as livegiving for Laos and at the same time it presents a big part of the border to Thailand. What you can see on the other side of the Mekong is already Thailand. In Vientiane the government is currently constructing an area for tourists directly at the waterside.
This is the asian alternative to the african motorbike taxi. The good thing is, that there is space for more people and at the same time the driver can use his vehicle for a nap when there is no client. These Tuktuks can be found everywhere in town and it is possible to enter and leave it at any place. But it is advisable to negotiate the price before starting the trip.
SFE office (29.08.2010)
Here you can see the entrance of the SFE office in Vientiane. The team here is taking care of the administration, the accountability and the contacts with the government. There is also a nice small guesthouse within the building with a kitchen and bathroom that I could use during the 2 months in the language school.
While studying Lao language, there are sometimes some other tasks do for SFE. Here for example came a container with donations for the hospitals we are working with. At first I was nearly a bit shocked, because of the amount and size of the content of the container. Part of it was not yet sorted, so we had to open it and to sort and decide what goes where. But together with several people it was not so bad in the end.
This is actually not a sports field but a yard for the National Assembly and the Thad Luang, one of the special sights of Vientiane. From time to time there are festivals taking place here, but when there is nothing, the Lao people like to use it as sports field. It is not so easy in Vientiane to find a place for jogging, badminton or football but here it is possible and up to now there seems to be enough space for everyone.
This sweet lilttle fellow is staying from now on in our house in Attapeu. I myself
saw him up to now only on pictures but I am already excited to see him live in 3
weeks time :-
Insects 1 (29.08.2010)
Today there was a festival in Vientiane about edible insects and they offered to taste all sorts of insects for free. What an opportunity! I tasted nearly everything that was offered. The first bite was a bit challenging but after that it is really not so bad!
Insects 2 (29.08.2010)
There are so many different kinds of insects! Before I tasted, I used to ask what
it is, but most of the time I did not understand the answer. But the main thing is
that it tasted good! :-