Savannakhet, Laos: January 29-30, 2016

We took a local bus from Tha Khet to Savannaket. Unfortunately, someone was permitted to place their motorbike in the aisle of the bus and everyone had to climb over it to get on. Bus stories abound in Laos. Everything is allowed on the local bus due to people having no other form of transportation. One lady told us that she had a rooster chained to the foot of her seat her entire trip.  We have had all manner of cargo on our bus/minivan trips, but so far no livestock.

Motorbike on the local bus.

Motorbike on the local bus.

We really didn’t expect much here, but we were pleasantly surprised to find a mostly quiet town with very cute cats and dogs patrolling the temples and streets. It was a mix of decaying early 20th century French and Chinese architecture and contained many temples of various cultures including Vietnamese, Chinese, and what appeared to be combination of Buddhism and Hinduism.

Our little street.

Our little street.  Pete is still feeling a bit out of sorts.

 

There are many ways to meditate in the temples. Here is an example of some of the holy items.

There are many ways to meditate in the temples. Here is an example of some of the holy items.

 

A tree wrapped with cloth and many items of worship along the Mekong river.

A tree wrapped with cloth and many items of worship along the Mekong river.

 

A little coffee shop where we met Jack nd Marge.

A little coffee shop where we met Jack and Marge.

 

Buddas being made in a nearby Buddhist temple.

Buddas being made in a nearby Buddhist temple.

 

Part of one of the many decaying buildings along the Mekong river. It was sad that they were crumbling.

Part of one of the many decaying buildings along the Mekong river. It was sad that they were crumbling.

 

More interesting old stuff.

More interesting old stuff.

 

One of the buildings that was neglected.

One of the buildings that was neglected. It must have been a palace at one time.

There were numerous small restaurants and coffee shops, some utilizing the old world charm of the area. The Mekong was a few short blocks from our guesthouse which was called Vivanook. The guesthouse was very comfortable and reminded us of a little French villa. It was owned by a very nice French man by the name of Nicholas.

We met a very sweet woman named Song. Nicholas is in the background.

We met a very sweet woman named Song and her Engish teacher Kim. Nicholas and Kim are in the background.

 

The Mekong river.

The Mekong river.

 

The beautiful Catholic church that was at the end of our block.

The beautiful Catholic church that was at the end of our block.

 

Interesting view of the Catholic church. We saw it everyday that we were in this city.

Interesting view of the Catholic church. We saw it everyday that we were in this town.

 

The national flower of Laos. They smell heavenly.

The national flower of Laos. They smell heavenly.

 

Tuk-tuk driver asleep in his hammock.

Tuk-tuk driver asleep in his hammock.

 

This was taken opposite the Mekong river. Goats roam the grassy areas.

This was taken opposite the Mekong river. Goats roam the grassy areas.

 

The way of the Buddhists. Lots of red and gold everywhere in the temples.

The way of the Buddhists.  Lots of red and gold everywhere in the temples.

 

This is my latest drawing which I was able to finish since we had such a nice room with a desk! Called "Village Girl".

This is my latest drawing which I was able to finish since we had such a nice room with a desk! Called “Village Girl”. It is my first drawing of a person.

Sadly, Pete continued to have stomach trouble but was beginning to feel better. He stayed in the very comfortable guesthouse while Denise went exploring the area on a rented bicycle. On our last day here, the electric power failed in the our neighborhood and water was off for the entire city starting from about 9 AM. We received various reports that it would be restored in the evening which it did except for very poor water pressure. The power and water were out the next day as well, but we left in the morning anyway so it did not matter to us. It is now getting warmer and not having access to a shower is somewhat annoying. But the people take it in stride here in Laos.

We met a couple of former US Agency for International Development (USAID) folks (Jack and Marge Huxtable) who were statioed in Savannakhet Province during the “secret” war.  Marge was also a nurse in Vietnam before joining USAID.  Of course they knew Mac Thompson who we met briefly in Phonsavan.  We got a chance to have a brief chat with them about their experiences working in Laos under the heavy US bombardment.  It is always fascinating to talk to someone who has first-hand experiences like this, and I hope that their memories will live on after they pass away.

We are moving onto Pakse in the Champasak Province by private car tomorrow. This town is the gateway to the south of Laos.

Below are a couple of articles from the Vientiane Times about the recent cold spell.

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One thought on “Savannakhet, Laos: January 29-30, 2016

  1. Hi Denise….we loved your drawing of the little village girl! You are getting really good!

    Glad Pete is feeling better.

    Mom and Dad send their love! Me too!
    Love Andrea

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