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French Connection

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When the tsongkaeo driver dropped us off in the city centre of Vientiane, I asked him what street we were on, seeing as street signs in Laos are generally in Lao. He looked at me like I was stupid and pointed to the sign. Which was in French, a lot easier to understand than Lao.

There is more evidence of its French past than the road signs. Grand presidential style buildings with wide tree-lined streets. Mixed in with a number of Buddhist temples and nowadays, Thai-style concrete boxes.

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Apart from wandering the streets, I went to visit “Buddha Park”, a park of stone Buddhas 20k out of town. Getting there was an experience in itself. The easy part was catching a local bus to the Thai border checkpoint. I then joined a tsongkaeo to the park. Over one of the roughest stretches of road I have been on. Rutted and pot-holed dirt, it was bone-rattling and suspension-destroying. Vehicles both ways drove wherever on the road looked least rough. It was only about 8k but more than enough. A good business in Central/Southern Laos would be suspension and shock absorbers. And at some point, road engineering.

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Posted by grasshopper 19:25 Archived in Laos

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