The editor of The Camel Saloon, Russell Streur, after he had seen some photos I submitted along with some of my poetry, came up with this cool idea about having an online photo exhibition of some of the photos I have taken during my travels around Asia.
Called the Asian Caravan, it is a collection of 50 photos taken in Cambodia, Japan, Laos, South Korea, and Thailand.
And while you are there, please check out some of the literary stylings and support this literary e-zine that is helping some writers get their first publishing credit and established writers to share their stuff.
There’s so much about our house in Laos that I like but these shutters definitely rock!
I had no idea that Aon was going to have one of the carpenters carve these designs into them. They are a nice touch.
Just a little more paint, some touching up here and there as well as some landscaping and it is home, very sweet home.
The color Aon and I decided to go with for the outside was a good choice–it goes well with the rest of the earth tones of the house.
Someone remarked on Facebook that it looks a bit like a Victorian house. You know, that wouldn’t be too far off base because Aon’s step-dad and the other contractors used an architecture book from the States to use as a template for their design–and of course added some traditional Laotian elements.
Not really hiding anywhere, but spending more time on my All Things Laotian blog as well as writing flash fiction, working on my novel and sending off poems and stories to various online magazines, as well as writing an article for the Joong Ang Daily.
The law of averages dictate that sooner or later one of my poems or stories is going to be published. And sure enough, I got an email from Stirfry Literary Magazine that one of my poems/stories is going to be published on July 4th.
You can follow my literary stylings at Jeffrey Miller Writes.
There’s no need to be in a “stupor” over a nondescript brick “stupa” in central Vientiane—especially when that stupa has an interesting story to tell.
Standing guard over the town’s center on Chantha Khoumane Road (opposite the U.S. Embassy) not far from Talat Sao, the imposing and mysterious That Dam (pronounced tawt dahm) is one of Vientiane’s more noticeable landmarks steeped in local legend and folklore.
Now overgrown with moss and weeds with its bricks crumbling from age, this ancient landmark is also known as The Black Stupa (which means that dam in Lao). There are two myths associated with the stupa, which have fed the imagination of locals. It is believed that the stupa was once coated in a layer of gold; however, the gold is said to have been carted off by the Siamese when they invaded in 1827 leaving this black stupa (the black stains evidence of a fire) behind to remind Laotians of this terrible act.
On the other hand, many Laotians believe the stupa it is inhabited by a dormant seven-headed dragon (the mythological Naga) who tried to protect them from the armies of Siam when they invaded Laos (but, obviously not protecting the gold).
Myths and legends aside, it remains a curious and fascinating sight in Vientiane where all that is precious in Asia does not necessarily have to glitter in gold. Today, the old black stupa—its crumbling spire creating an ominous impression against an azure sky—fuels one’s imagination evoking bygone eras and ghosts from Laos’s past.
You’ve been in Vientiane for a day or two and you’ve already been to That Louang, Patouxai, Wat Sisaket and Wat Pha Kaew—where to next?
If it’s too hot for any outdoor sightseeing or the skies have opened up with a torrential downpour and you want to fit in one of Vientiane’s “must-see” attractions instead of sitting in some café and drinking coffee and eating a baguette, you might want to check out the National Museum across the street from the Cultural Center.
Housed in an old colonial structure (built in 1925) that was once the French Governor’s mansion, the Lao National Museum (which was once known as the Lao Revolutionary Museum) might not have the trove of artifacts you’d expect for a national museum; however, the museum makes up for it with some rather interesting exhibits.
Can someone please tell me what kind of rock outcrop this is?
This rock formation is located north of Thakek on the way to Savannakhet; there are a few other similar formations, but there are no mountain ranges in the immediate area. I was lucky to snap this photo from a the moving bus I was on from Vientiane to Paksong.
Thinking back to 1983 when I was student at Illinois Valley Community College and taking both a geology and a geography class with Mr. Smunt, I am going to go out on a geological limb here, (or should I say plateau?) and say that this looks like some ancient volcanic cone. Does look like some basalt there. I got an A in both classes but I might have been daydreaming the day Mr. Smunt talked about volcanoes.
Any geologists out there want to chime in with their expert take on this unique rock formation.
And yes, you can read about The Rock, Grilled Chicken Feet and a Ferry ‘Cross the Mekong at All Things Laotian–your one stop blog that is your gateway to your Laos adventure.
Waiting for the ferry across the Mekong in southern Laos near Pakse in July 2007.
And who’s the little boy in the back wearing the blue shirt? It’s Bia!
Check out more photos of Laos and commentary on my upstart and exclusive Laos’ blog All Things Laotian.
I’ve got a backlog of photos that I took on my last trip to Laos in December-January that I am still going through and posting here.
Not exactly the best aerial shot of Vientiane (on the left) but you get a good idea of how wide the Mekong is in some spots. That sandbar at the top of the photo–Aon and I walked out there back in 2008 and could walk right up to the Mekong.
At the bottom left is the Wattay International Airport.