Monday, September 7, 2015

A Change of Pace: Thoughts from Vientiane

A beautiful abandon theater in Vientiane

Just moments ago a Mercedes and Lexus passed up down one of the tiny Rues. I have a good first impression of Vientiane, but not a powerful one. It lacks some of the odor of Yangon, the electric charge that sends shocks from the streets into my body. And it lacks the glorious view of other cities.  But I like it. All at once it is more and less developed than I imagined. Somehow,  I had hopes there would be sidewalks, like France maybe, but I was wrong. The brick sidewalk are narrow and often occupied by parked mopeds. Other streets have no sidewalks: the disintegrates into sand, an uneven shoreline bordering both sides of the street. It’s colorful and corroded. No building is shiny or glistening, but some have been painted over and cared for. Others are in ruins, their roofs like worn clothes, shoe patches of sky visible through moth-eaten holes.

We will be here seven more nights before going into Vietnam. I don’t think any guide book or tourist would  recommend such a long time in Vientiane, but we are unlike many guide books and tourists. In fact in Laos, I would prefer to do the opposite as what it recommended.

I took a nap today, and slept through the afternoon, which was neither particularly hot nor sunny. This house feels so wonderful. Like home. Like safety. Waking up from my nap in the quiet room, lit only by the rays of afternoon sun that managed to sneak around the palm trees. Even the act of removing my shoes at the door, and walking around barefoot makes me feel at peace. At all times I can hear the sound of running water from the pond by the deck. A cool breeze flows through the house from open windows on both sides. 

Tonight’s sunset was a powder blue sky speckled with pink clouds, like petals tossed across the surface of a glassy lake. 

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