Saturday, October 23, 2010

Vientiane, Laos

I've been in Vientiane, Laos for the past few days for my first visa run and to switch to a working visa. Now, I can legally work here! Yay! It's about a 10 hour bus ride up to the border from where I live and trust me- it's a very LONG 10 hours. Vientiane is the capitol of Laos and it's just over the border. I have to say though, it's pretty lame as far as capitol cities go. There's not much to do or see there, and the day and a half I spent there was more than enough. Still, it's been on my list of places to see while I'm over here so at least now I can cross that off. Plus, my passport is really starting to fill up with stamps! I thought the trip was going to be all work no play, but I ended up meeting some pretty cool people and we definitely had some fun.

Patuxai is probably Vientiane's main attraction. It's a war monument dedicated to those who lost their lives in Laos' struggle to gain independence from France. Funnily enough though, it's meant to resemble the famous Arc de Triomphe in Paris.

Gotta love Engrish...

A girl from South Africa that I met on the trip, taking a photo of Patuxai (clearly).

The road leading up to Patuxai is even meant to resemble the boulevard in Paris.

That Luang is Laos' most sacred Buddhist monuments. It's completely covered in gold, and absolutely beautiful.

We didn't get a chance to see it during the day, but I have a feeling it's prettier at night anyways. Unfortunately, going at night meant that it was closed to the public, but I'd say it's a pretty fair trade-off.

Just to the right of That Luang is a wat, and the temple grounds are lined with Buddhist statues.

It just happened to still be open, so we asked if we could come inside. We were happily invited in, and it was absolutely beautiful. It was kind of sistine chapel-esque and it's the first wat I've actually been inside. You're not supposed to take pictures but being the rebel that I am, of course I had to sneak a few. Sorry Buddha!

There was a HUGE night market going on, so we decided to stop there for a bit and check it out. Now, I am such a market aficionado, but this one was just too much for me! It was so overwhelming and unnecessarily loud, but I guess it was pretty cool to see it.

The market was right along the Mekong, so we escaped the market to go see the river at one point. It was pretty cool to see the river itself because it's so well known, and the solace it gave us from the market was much appreciated.

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