We studied the whiteboard menu outside the cafe before entering Mr Falafel’s Fast Food / The Shade Restaurant @ Fa Ngum Road
Our order : fried egg, ham, sausage, baguette plus tea / coffee for 20,000kip ( ~RM8). The baguette was kinda hard , after the dissection , we applied butter on the sides and we squeezed : egg, ham and sausage into the crevice. It was a mouthful, good for jaw expansion exercise, I enjoyed this hearty breakfast –egg/ham/sausage and baguette is a good team ! and the coffee…wow, it’s so very the kau, really kau kau one mannn, strong and fragrant. Good wake me up potion !
A large flat screen TV was mounted on the wall ( LG) and a short little dog ( or more accurately a little dog with short legs) patrolled the place.
After breakfast, we start our hunt for a tuk-tuk, tuk-tuk drivers normally will have a printed price list for the various locations. Our destination was Buddha Park, That Luang and Patuxai, HC did the negotiation – which involved a smattering of English, calculator ( provided by driver) and some hand gestures. Final agreed price 180,000 kip.
It was a cool and breezy on the Tuk-tuk, we passed Beerlao brewery , click here for more info on Beerlao
passed Lao Tobacco, temples, Mekong river ( on the left is Thailand),
passed Friendship bridge - a bridge over the Mekong . opened in 1994, connecting the city of Nong with Vientiane. The length of the bridge is 1,170m and cost USD 10 million. And there is going to be a fourth friendship bridge built in the near future- linking Chiang Rai to Laos.
After about 45 minutes on the Tuk-tuk, we arrived at Buddha Park ( Xieng Khuan) . Paid 6,500 kip for entrance fee and camera. The park was built in 1958 by Bunleua Sulilat, a yogi-priest-shaman who combined Buddhist and Hindu philosophy, mythology and iconography into the building of the park.
Near the entrance is a big pumpkin shaped structure with a tree on top.
It’s a kinda weird looking place, I do not find it particularly pleasing to the eyes , it’s crammed with various structures here , there and everywhere, big and small, some with rather weird hairdos ( like Marge Simpson), sitting, standing, you name it, they have it.
I think HC summed it up rather accurately by calling it Buddha Circus instead of Buddha Park !
We climbed inside the pumpkin , 3 flights of steps to reach the top and we get a bird’s eye view of the ‘circus’
After nearly an hour at the park we got on to the Tuk2 again, we saw some stalls with some red and grey stuff and wonder what they were and asked Mr Tuk2 to stop at a stall to have a closer look . Can you guess ?
In the foreground : strips of buffalo hide, look closely and you can see the hairs, these have to be further processed (removing the hairs, outer skin etc ) before using them in cooking etc..on the background- something like beef jerky.
Next Up : That Luang – the symbol of Laos’s nationhood and the country’s most sacred Buddhist monument. Watch this space !