Magun's Compass
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Heading: Viantiane.......

Sub Title: Dreamlike capital of sleepy Laos

The sleepy capital of Laos
Vientiane � Michel Guntern

In a capital with no street signs, directions are given by the way of traffic lights and various wats. Bicycles have a soft seat over the rear wheel for passengers, and most females wear dark, traditional, wrap-around skirts with a decorative link-belt.

Washing of the Buddhas at New Year The Vientiane I found was nothing like Paul Theroux's visit, in The Great Railway Bazaar, where 'a naked waitress jumped on to a chair and puffed a cigarette in her vagina by contracting her uterine lungs'.

Neither did it seem to be 'raging' like the impression portrayed in the Australian article that I had read at the Laotian Embassy in Canberra.

The Vientiane that appeared to me came closer to a Thai provincial town, than a capital city.

The French language of officialdom is only a romantic connection with a former protectorate (1893-1954). Hardly anyone can speak it now, and the older people who might have, claim to have forgotten everything.

Most of the alien faces I came across in the street were paler than the been-around-in-the-sun travellers, and had probably flown in by Aeroflot. There was a bus early in the morning to Ban Hei, which would take about an hour and a half, and then I would have to catch lorries the rest of the way to Savannakhet....

Asia Index

Nomadic Gatherings - Travels in Asia and Australia

Travel on trains and buses in Asia, then jump into cars with complete strangers in Australia and New Zealand as Michel introduces you to a collection of characters that bring Nomadic Gatherings to life.

If you can't afford to buy a copy of Nomadic Gatherings, the chapters are slowly being made available online - for free.

You may even decide that it really is worth having a hard copy in your hands; a useful read for those long bus journeys being written about, and for endless waits at ferry ports.

Nomadic Gatherings - Online Chapters.

Find out more about Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, The Middle East, and The Americas.
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