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3 November, Vientiane
Souvanna Hotel 120,000LAK

“You Rambo” said my giggling masseuse, jiggling the fat on my hips. We are back in Southeast Asia where the people are tiny and endlessly bemused by my size. Charl and I slept over 13 hours last night and, refreshed, applied first for our Vietnam visas then paid a late-afternoon visit to Vientiane’s premier temple, Pha That Luang. I had to hire a traditional Lao skirt to enter the temple grounds. “Bee sigh” said the young woman who fitted me. My ear, already attuned somewhat to the rounded sounds and dropped letters of spoken English in this country, quickly translated this into “Big size”. In front of the temple is a shrine to King Setthathirat, who relocated his capital from Luang Prabang to Vientiane and ordered construction of Pha That Luang in 1566. The reverence exhibited before the statue is odd juxtaposed with the hammer and sickle flags flown alongside the Lao flag throughout the city. There are several temples near Pha That Luang; we visited one and admired its gentle-faced reclining Buddha. Then through the streets of the fair again, photographing the delectables on display and dining eventually at a street restaurant where we were seated on kindergarten chairs.

Pha That Luang & King Setthathirat
Pha That Luang & King Setthathirat
King Setthathirat
King Setthathirat
Pha That Luang
Pha That Luang
Pha That Luang
Pha That Luang
Pha That Luang
Pha That Luang
Reclining Buddha temple
Reclining Buddha temple
Reclining Buddha temple
Reclining Buddha temple
Reclining Buddha temple
Reclining Buddha temple
Festival food stalls
Festival food stalls
Festival food stalls
Festival food stalls
Festival food stalls
Festival food stalls
Festival food stalls
Festival food stalls
Festival food stalls
Festival food stalls
Festival food stalls
Festival food stalls
Festival food stalls
Festival food stalls
Festival cutie
Festival cutie
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