Life in Laos through the lens of a diplomatic wife raising twin toddlers.
Three months is a l-o-n-g-t-i-m-e to be without a car in a city and environs with so much to explore, and the inconvenience of having to make at least three different stops just to pick up all the necessary groceries. We thought we’d have our car by now but alas, it is sitting in some government parking lot awaiting the necessary paperwork that would allow us to drive it here on Vientiane streets. So for this three-day holiday weekend, we decided to rent a car (a truck to be specific) since we are reserving our air travel for Hanoi and Bali later in the year. But without sufficient time to plan and research what to explore with our new found vehicular freedom, we decided to return to a place that the kids and I went to before to show it to G who wasn’t with us on our first outing to Buddha Park.
On a Saturday morning, it was definitely more crowded than the weekday outing we had back in August, probably also exacerbated by the on-coming of peak tourist season. Cooler weather is expected during the next few months and along with it comes the tourists to the ‘off-beaten’ path of Laos (definitely less ‘off’ and more ‘beaten’ by now but still holds to that claim compared to comparable locations in the region).
So we strapped M&O into their car seats (Yay! for car seats which we haven’t been using in any of the temporary vehicles that cart us around town), packed some snacks, our cameras (Yes! G is now using my old S90), and off we went! The kids enjoyed their higher vantage from their car seats as well as being able to open and close the windows until we figured out the child lock. G drove like a pro along Vientiane’s anything-goes-as-long-as-you’re-in-a-bigger-vehicle rules of the road, and had no qualms about the head-on-collision-potential style of passing that is typical of just about every third-world country I’ve ever been to.
When we arrived we had a slow cranky toddlers start to our outing, but once everybody calmed down and we were on our way, the kids excitedly lead their dad to their favorite elephant statue. Five minutes later came yet another cranky toddler moment requiring refuge to the nearby sitting area with a pleasant cool breeze and a view of the Mekong River to eat our roasted bananas. With our bellies full and bored of crankiness, we wandered back into the park where a group of people were gathered underneath a large Banyon tree gazing upwards in hopes of finding the person sitting up top playing a bamboo flute. The music carried with it an air of spiritual reverence to the various forms of gods and goddesses on the park’s grounds, while the climb up the densely twisty-vined tree was a mystery to everyone peering up into the dense tree.
Despite their crankiness (mostly O’s), M’s increased confidence was a marked difference from two months ago. In the picture below, she displays her courage by taking on one of the toothy evil toddler-eating-shoe of one of the statues. Hilarious!
Photography notes: I have to thank my Mac for revealing how over saturated my recent photos have been that were edited on my Vaio laptop. And style credit goes to Dani at Hot Pot DC who’s photos I love and style I admire. In her generous post about her photography tricks here, she has inspired me to try out an over exposed setting. I loved it for this setting since it’s a busy place with lots in the background that was cleaned out by the increased exposure. Thanks Dani! You inspire me.