January 17, 2007

sisavangvong road

through the boundary walls of Wat Mai Suvannaphumaham....

late afternoon in the old city
along the main thoroughfare of Sisavangvong Road
the night market starts to take shape
as hawkers unload their goods from carts
lay out straw mats on the pavements
painted with yellow numbers to indicate their lots
string out electrical wires & extension cords
hang light bulbs from wooden frames
unpack their wares from made-in-China canvas bags
Burmese puppets, saa paper lanterns
Lao silk skirts tailored to farang proportions
cellphone pouches with Yao cross-stitch patterns
hilltribe silver accessories that shine gold in the light of the setting sun
bags made from the fabric of Hmong skirts
silk wall hangings & table runners with the patterns & designs
of Tai Lue people who neither use coffee tables
nor decorate their own walls with their weavings
piles of T-shirts with the Beer Lao logo
wooden frogs that wouldn't look out of place
in the markets of Chiangmai, Bangkok & Bali
tuktuks and motorcycles weave between them
monks & novices with book-laden shoulder bags
walk past oil paintings of the shaven-headed & saffron-robed
as they return from schools in Wat Sop & Wat Siphoutthabat
as tourists make their way up the steps of Phou Si hill
to capture the sunset over the Mekong with their digicams
before 30,000 kip dinners in one of the cafes
listed in their well-thumbed copies of the blue backpacker bible
that is the Lonely Planet


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