A lot has changed since my last visit to Vientiane, Capital City of Laos. New roads are being built, or old ones widened and covered. The New Morning Market is almost ready (though I doubt that it will have the character of the current one). New buildings and houses are popping up everywhere, a sign of the changing times that my country of birth is going through. Its a positive change, and a welcome one.
The rise in Tourism is plain to see. Lao Aviation (Lao Airlines) has purchased new planes to meet the demand of visitors, new hotels have opened, and old ones are being refurbished.
Many photos were taken, alongside some film, which will be blogged within the next few weeks.
One outstanding feature that all visitors will notice is the “calm and openess” of the Lao folk. They are generous, happy and find pleasures in the simple things. Unstressed, taking everying “in their stride”.
The day starts early in Laos, and a pefect way to start the day is a hot steaming bowl of Phö.
Its never too early for a Beerlao!
Fresh Herbs add a pleasant aroma and flavour to the soup.
Fresh Water fish can be found in all manner of guises. One road on the way to Vang Vieng, is famed for its Dried and Fermented Fish.
There are numerous varieties of fish for sale.
Fermend Fish (Som Pa) is sold wrapped in Banana Leaves and clear bags. They can be eaten “as is” or lightly fried, which will make the aroma more intense. There was also a huge selection of Padek available, with each vendor selling there very own “secret recipe”.
It was wonderful to see the different foods available, either sold openly on the streets, or in the markets. Luckily this year, I was careful of what I ate, and enjoyed a “stomach pain free” holiday!
Alan Davidson´s Fish and Fish Dishes of Laos is an outstanding book, not only for reference, but also as a pointer to see how the Lao (the country is Land-Locked) lived off the River Fish.