No alarm clock this morning, but wouldn’t you know we get up at seven anyway. The room we have faces east and the sun beat us by half an hour this morning.
We move up to check out the included breakfast, but find no muesli. Katja vows to eat more healthier food in the upcoming days. I nod my agreement, as my mouth is full of egg and bacon.
We head out into the streets of Vientiane. It looks almost as good in daylight as it did when coming in last night. It’s a world apart from the worn down cities we’ve visited on our trip. It’s definitely cleaner in terms of garbage in the streets, and it smell nicer than most.
We plot a course for the Scandinavian bakery, an institution in Vientiane. It got a lot of cakes and coffees to offer. We enjoy a good, long and slow cappuccino. Ahh.
Moving out we went to the black Stupa. This is a landmark here and it’s been around for ages. It’s said it once was covered completely by gold, but that it was raided when the Siams (now Thailand) invaded and conquered Laos. Today it stands as a symbol of old greatness.
We passed by the Americans embassy in our hunt for the Sisaket temple. It’s a temple in town that is known for it’s collection of Buddhas. We get in through a side entrance and walk right into a lot of people eating. “Is this a resturant?”, we ask, but no. It’s a ceremony for a little kid (maybe something like baptism). The temple is nice and there are a few things in the outer yard that’s worth looking at, but the inner part is closed between noon and one o’clock. Were there 12:30 so we just sit down to wait. Katja tilts over and pass out on a bench while I read a little.
The doors open precisely at one and we move inside with the rest of the people waiting. Like so many other places/temples/Wat’s and the like we have visited, Sisaket is in dire need of mainenance. Old wooden strcutures are not carrying the burden of time as well as stone, and it shows. There are restoration projects going on in the innermost part, but that is not enough. All this buddhists countries we visit has temples all over. There is no way a strained economy can take care of this, each one has to fend for themselves. This makes the ticket sale and offereings/donations very important for them. That’s why we stop on our way out to buy tickets, since we had gotten in through the side entrance.
The buddhas numbers in the thousands, and are really nice. All the inner walls are filled with small niches that contains one or more buddha’s. We walk around and take pictures, watching my head for the stooping woodwork.
We walk back to city center, and have lunch at French bakery. A really good baguette right there. Across the street is a place called Sweet Moo where they serve icecream. Bound to be tested.
We did some more walking and went into a temple or two more on our way. We’ve seen a lot of temples now and are more selective on where to spend our time. Some are just monasteries where it’s nothing special to be seen. We do aim for the ones like Sisaket that has something utterly special to show.
After going by the hotel to freshen up we go out to dinner. Turns out they have closed off part of the inner city for traffic and are showing off a lot of different things. We’re extremely lucky with our timing coming here, as this happens tonight and tomorrow, according to the banners around. We walk the streets and see local artists paint, sing, dance and there are lots for people dressed in nattional costumes. It’s very nice. Because of this we stay up later than normal, as there are something to see at every corner. Specially fun to see students of different schools presenting their work, be it architectual work, painting, dancing etc. We really enjoy Vientiane so far.
My imagination is a monastery and I am its monk.
– John Keats