Life in Laos through the lens of a diplomatic wife raising twin toddlers.

Buddha Park (again)

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.

The little kiosk at the entrance with drinks, snacks, and souvenirs. Try the grilled bananas from the lady at the small stand in front. She also sells fresh fruit.

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.

A shady breezy spot along the Mekong River for some snacks. There are also little “sala” huts (in the backgroud) to sit or even lie down for a nap.

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!

Presenting a human offering was no match for M’s display of courage in the next picture…

Bring it ON evil shoe!

Mossy details of a giant snake encircling it’s brood.

Follow the leader along the giant ant-covered snake.

So many shapes, colors, lighting and textures to photograph.

One classical Southeast Asian dance hand movement captured within another. Photo credit to G for his creativity and keen eye.

Everyone looking for the source of the flute music coming from deep inside a gnarly Banyon tree.

Rarely am I in a picture since I’m always behind the camera. Here, G captures M at more than half my height before she even turns 3.

The giant mouth is a popular photo op, with some brave souls at the top who dare to navigate the questionable structure within.

A tired girl dragging her feet back to the car. Surely, this will not be our last visit. If you come visit us, we will definitely take you here!

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.

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8 comments on “Buddha Park (again)

  1. Jennifer Burden
    October 8, 2012

    Absolutely gorgeous, Dee!! I love it!!

    Jen 🙂

    • Wanderlustress
      October 9, 2012

      Hey Jen! Thanks for stopping by 😉

  2. Bama
    October 7, 2012

    Looks like an interesting place for a short day-trip from Vientiane. I didn’t go there though and decided to move north to LP. Maybe when I come back I should pay a visit to this place.

  3. Dani
    October 7, 2012

    I love your photos of this place! Especially M with the giant’s shoe, that is just priceless!! The last one of M walking down the path is wonderful as well, another favorite. Already half your height? oh wow! I thank my lucky stars everyday that WIll is kind of a shrimp right now–though he’s got huge feet so I don’t think he’s going to stay so little for long!

    • Wanderlustress
      October 7, 2012

      Thanks Dani. Yes it must be nice to be able to carry Will around in a sling, something I never did with our two bc of their weight/size and also bc of sibling jealousy that surprisingly started at a very early stage. I have a funny picture of G trying to carry two slings at the same time without much success. The kids do grow up fast, always requiring new shoes! Hope you’re having a nice long weekend.

      • Dani
        October 12, 2012

        I think all the time, “what would I do if I had two right now?” The answer is that all of my traipsing around town would be so. much. harder. If not downright impossible. Actually yes, it would be impossible. I guess I should be grateful Will is on the tinier side of the spectrum!

  4. wandermama
    October 6, 2012

    Hey. I tried to reply on the blog but somehow it didn’t take. Anyways, I wanted to ask you if you sent Valerie Baumal my way.  She’s a French woman who makes/sells kid items: http://www.anakijo.com/ and lives in Vientaine.  She contacted me to get involved with CleanBirth.org, which is very exciting.  If she isn’t coming to me from you — she may be a great person to get in touch with. 

    Buddha Park looked great.  And reminded me of similar trips we took in rented trucks when Nadya was just that age and Nikolai a bit older.  I regularly wonder how we did it, and I know that it wasn’t always easy, but thank God we did.  These adventures, even when they are uncomfortable, are what makes life interesting.  

    xo Kristyn 


    • Wanderlustress
      October 7, 2012

      Hi Kristyn. I did not send Valerie your way but I’m happy to know that she wants to work with you. That’s great!

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This entry was posted on October 6, 2012 by in Laos and tagged , , , , , , , .

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