Southern Laos--Dec 16-21, 2005
 

Savannakhet--Dec 16-18, 2005

My next stop was a small city called Savannakhet. As I am working my way south it seemed like a good place to stop for a couple of nights. Highlights included going to a That (temple) where the monks cast gold Buddhas.

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Wat Ing Hang Temple

I also visited one of the oldest temples in Laos called Wat Ing Hang. The picture here is of a monk giving a blessing to a Laos man.

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National Games

Also when in Savannakhet I stumbled upon the National Games. There were a series of sporting events taking place in the city during the weekend including rowing on the Mekong River, soccer, and net ball which is similar to volleyball except it is played with a wicker ball and the feet are used (no hands allowed). The ball is kicked over the net or hit over the net with their head with all the other rules similar to volleyball.

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Pakse--Dec 18-21, 2005

My next stop was a small city called Pakse. I took some time to wander around the city, check out the market and spend a day relaxing. There is not really a whole lot to do in the city. It is just a stopping off point before heading further south. The main attraction in Pakse is the Bolaven Plateau. This is an area about hour outside of the city that is about 1000 meters above the rest of the area and is famous for growing coffee and tea. I took an all day tour of the plateau and visited both a tea and a coffee plantation and had a chance to sample the local flavors. They export between 80 and 90% of their crops to France and the rest of Europe. The picture below is of a tea plantation.

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Bolaven Plateau cont.

We also stopped and saw 4 different waterfalls during the day. I have to say that I have seen my share of waterfalls now and although I enjoy seeing them.... they all pale in comparison to Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe.

The falls in the picture are the Tadlo waterfalls.

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Village life

On the day outing we also visited a local village and walked around and talked to the kids. This was a pretty big village where most of the people work on the coffee and tea plantations. One thing that set this village different from others I have seen are the caskets. They make the caskets before people die and store them under their houses. They also reuse the caskets. The bones are dug up after a number of years and kept in a container of some sort and then casket saved for the next member of the family to die.

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Sabadee

Once again I visited with the children of the village and they loved getting their picture taken and being able to see it on the digital camera. They all love saying hello (Sabadee) to everyone who walks by and love the attention they get.

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