Luang Prabang (8)

2 11 2009

Monday 2nd November 2009

BIG planks

These are single boards!

There are many things that surprise us about Laos. We wondered if our view is just coloured by our western culture but speaking with a Japanese Restaurateur who has been trying to build up a business here for 3 years he expressed some of the same frustrations that we have observed. With Luang Praband a UNESCO World Heritage sight he was keen to renovate a lovely classic Lao building. He found he had to meet with his Lao renovators every morning and give them instruction for the day. Even with that sort of oversight he continually found them doing things like ripping out perfectly good old timber and wanting to put in new.

Lao achictecture

Typical Lao achictecture

Their rationale was, “…but timber is cheap”!


Another surprise is illustrated by a Lao idiom commonly used here and immortalised on tee shirts, “Same, Same – but Different”. The best example of this is demonstrated in street markets. It is not unusual to find as many as 20 or 30 street stalls, most of them side by side all selling exactly the same range of product. (In fairness this was a phenomenon we observed in Vietnam as well.) Like today for instance we went looking for a pair of leather sandals for Maree.

guest houses

some of the hundreds of guesthouses

In a fairly modern shopping area where there were, among other things, six shoe shops. We spotted a pair that was ideal but they only had it in two sizes, both too big. The exact same sandal was in five of the other six shops but all of them only had the same two sizes.


Today we hired bycicles (that’s how it was spelled on the sign. I feel right at home with the spelling here) and rode around enjoying a much cooler day. Incidentally that reminds me of another surprising thing here.

Maree Crossing

Maree holding up traffic on a cycle only bridge

With the temperature plummeting to an expected 31 degrees and the humidity only 42% today we were amazed to see people with warm jackets and ‘hoodies’ on and children in the school playground bundled up with knitted jumpers and quilted jackets. Granted this was this morning when the temperature probably was only in the mid 20s.


We are moving on tomorrow to Vientiane and hopefully will manage a brief entry if we find a room with wifi again.

Children Crossing

Spotted this tied up outside a school gate!






One response

3 11 2009

Jamie would be interested in the single boards at present ! love mum.

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