Vientiane

Brief post

Vang Vieng to Vientiane
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Plenty of crossings as we rode beside a lake
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Lunchtime at a chaotic market. There’s an event going on somewhere here
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Nearly all fish here
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Spiced, compressed and dried
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Plus tiny fish that didn’t smell so good…
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We followed the market through a long tunnel
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Down to the lake
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Rowing!
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Kids had short races in mini-boats with mini-bowsprits
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But no sign of the big boats about to start, so we left.

It’s been getting progressively drier, despite the morning-after rain filled fields
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The road has been the worst yet in Laos. We riding visor-down because of the dust which makes us feel claustrophobic as usual
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These are everywhere. They’re the equivalent of the truck in most of the country
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Approaching the Lao’s capital city, Vientiane
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Phat That Luang temple. Perhaps the most important temple in Laos. It’s a stupa, which means someone, probably a monk is buried there. For an example of how complex the histories are of some of these monuments, here’s a clip from wiki:

*** Pha That Luang according to the Lao people was originally built as a Hindu temple in the 3rd century. Buddhist missionaries from the Mauryan Empire are believed to have been sent by the Emperor Ashoka, including Bury Chan or Praya Chanthabury Pasithisak and five Arahata monks who brought a holy relic (believed to be the breastbone) of Lord Buddha to the stupa.[2] It was rebuilt in the 13th century as a Khmer temple which fell into ruin.

In the mid-16th century, King Setthathirat relocated his capital from Luang Prabang to Vientiane and ordered construction of Pha That Luang in 1566.[3] It was rebuilt about 4 km from the centre of Vientiane at the end of That Luang Road and named Pha That Luang.[2] The bases had a length of 69 metres each and was 45 metres high, and was surrounded by 30 small Stupas.

In 1641, a Dutch envoy of the Dutch East India Company, Gerrit van Wuysoff, visited Vientiane and was received by King Sourigna Vongsa at the temple, where he was, reportedly, received in a magnificent ceremony. He wrote that he was particularly impressed by the “enormous pyramid and the top was covered with gold leaf weighing about a thousand pounds”.[4] However, the stupa was repeatedly plundered by the Burmese, Siamese and Chinese.

Pha That Luang was destroyed by the Thai invasion in 1828, which left it heavily damaged and left abandoned. It was not until 1900 that the French restored to its original design based on the detailed drawings from 1867 by the French architect and explorer Louis Delaporte.[3] However the first attempt to restore it was unsuccessful and it had to be redesigned and then reconstructed in the 1930s.[3] During the Franco-Thai War, Pha That Luang was heavily damaged during a Thai air raid. After the end of World War II, Pha That Luang was reconstructed ***

Anyway
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We went off to see Xieng Khuan. It’s modern. Built by Luang Pu Bunleua Sulilat in 1958
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Nothing really on Ventiane itself, we dashed in and dashed out. Plus there was a trip complication explained in a coming post.

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