May 06, 2007

221206 Viphaphone rooftop views

After climbing over & under broken beds & assorted furniture in a stairwell & water pipes & laundry lines on the rooftop of Viphaphone hotel to hang some cat laundry in the sun...

Looking towards the highway leading to Ban Boun Neua:

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Main street of the province capital:

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Phongsaly stadium:


Probably used once a year on 2nd December for Lao National Day celebrations & parades complete with hundreds of flag-waving school kids in white shirts & bright red scarves? Largest patch of flat land the cat would see in this province, although Ban Boun Neau should have a larger patch at the provincial airport.

Main street close up:

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The cat mailed off the first bunch of postcards to Singapore & USA at the post office housed in one of the tiny zinc-roofed structures (above). The staff didn't appear to be expecting any customers. All jumped to attention when they finally realised that the cat was one. The postcards seemed to be the highlight of their day (perhaps even week?). Each was carefully stamped, & the pictures closely examined & subjected to much discussion by all. Wouldn't be surprised if they tried to read all that the cat had written. They probably have nothing except plain envelopes to look at for most of the year?

During its short stay, the cat was one out of a total of 5 tourists (20%!) in town, & it didn't see any postcards around. Not that it saw anything much catering specifically to tourists (a plus point to the cat) apart from the government provincial tourism office - hotels & restaurants (with menus in Chinese) seemed geared towards businessmen from across the border. All postcards eventually arrived at their destinations, about 2.5-3 weeks later.

Laotel office with solar energy panels:


Kaysone again:


Phou Fa hill:


Other half of main street, leading to Hat Sa:


Big fat concrete monster of Phongsaly Hotel at left. A short distance down this street & the road turns into a narrow sloping, curving lane lined with quaint old wooden houses overflowing with character that feels so like rural China 11 years ago.

View towards east:

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