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Bruce Mangosteen

Vientiane Laos, and Udon Thani

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dtyolmn

Great pictures and very informative. I'm hoping to take a side trip to Laos, Cambodia, etc the next time I get over there. Thnaks for sharing.

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Bruce Mangosteen

Thanks for the nice comments, guys. I'll post another installment later today.

 

Great report sir, the only thing is why checkers instead of getting jiggy?
You know. ;)

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Bruce Mangosteen

Day 4, Hanging in Udon

 

This day basically consisted of me sleeping most of the day. Lady Mangosteen and I woke up at about 2:30, and had a late lunch/early dinner at an Italian restaurant right next to the hotel. The food was good, but the prices were a tad expensive (just for a change :Billiards1: ). After that I crashed out again, and Lady M availed herself of the Robinson's Department Store attached to the hotel.

 

When Lady M looks in the mirror she must see some sort of centipede looking back, as she apparently believes she needs at least 50 pairs of shoes at all times. She bought enough shoes to where the bag we are sharing reached critical mass, and we then need another of those too. Again, in her defense, the girl has done little but fuss and worry over me, attentively taking care of me in every detail, and in my mind she deserves to buy a few things for herself.

 

At about 7:00, Sunny Valentine, who is also attending the wedding, called me from a small pub/guesthouse located about a mile from my hotel. We arranged to meet in a few minutes, or an hour, depending on how long it was going to take Lady Mangosteen to pick out tonight's pair of shoes. Two hours later we rolled up to a tidy-looking pub called The Irish Clock.

 

The Irish Clock was as neat and inviting inside as it was outside. Tucking into a pint of Guinness (Kilkenny for Sunny, both reasonable by Thailand standards at 160 baht), we chatted while waiting for the rest of our party to arrive. Minutes later, Jay and his girl arrived with Lady Valentine (Jay's girl's cousin), another lovely former Shooters girl who is now engaged to Jay's friend Dan, and a couple other cousins. Of course, in Thailand, when there's liquor around, everybody's your cousin. :P

 

After finishing the Irish grog we stepped a couple doors down to a tiny little bar called the Happy Dao Bar 2. I never found out where #1 was. A very basic beerbar, the HD2 featured cold beer and a few girls that I would characterize as "rough, but pleasant". The presence of a toothbrush in the toilet was a pointed reminder that we were back in Thailand.

 

It was then decided to go to the Yellow Bird again. Sunny, who just the previous night had emceed a party in Shooters, said his goodbyes, and the rest of us headed over. Same band as last night, and the girls enjoyed themselves Thai style while Jay and I drank beer and chatted.

 

Piccies!

 

In the Irish Clock, Sunny Valentine relaxes after a day of traveling (and a nice meal) with a pint.

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The Irish Clock itself is a comfy pub with good food and cold beer.

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Jay and his girl at Happy Dao 2.

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The girlies party it up at Yellow Bird again!

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I'm sure this will come as no surprise, but snacks are available.

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Tomorrow: We visit a local Buddha park while we wait for the festivities to start.

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Alleycat

Excellent continuation mate :GiveBeer1::P:Beer8: ..What is it with women and shoes!!??...T...must be a cheaper alternative, like say disposable shoes as they do razors and contact lenses.. :07:

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DirtyDisco

Hey man great T/R. love the pictures, so much detail....

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Bruce Mangosteen
Excellent continuation mate :Bravo1::Bravo1: :Bravo1: ..What is it with women and shoes!!??...T...must be a cheaper alternative, like say disposable shoes as they do razors and contact lenses.. :)
SHHHHH!!!!!!!! :o Don't say that too loud! They'll start throwing out and replacing THESE shoes after every wearing! :D

 

Hey man great T/R. love the pictures, so much detail....
Thanks, bro. If was a fun trip, and I was lucky to have some cool subject matter. :)

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KDNG

Bruce, just finished examining your TR! Outstanding is all I have got to say, wonderful pics and story. I hope to do a complete SE Asia tour one day and your report plus the others from Vietnam, Cambo, and Laos are helping me out.

 

The pics are amazing, great of you to share with us. :Bravo1:

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Bruce Mangosteen

Day 5, Part 1: Waiting for the wedding

 

We showed up at about 12:30, and the party had already been set up. A few early birds were already there; some of the younger Thai guys already looking the worse for wear. There was much bustling around cooking (the family did the cooking themselves), and a few kids ran about amongst the tables. The house is directly next to the kids' school, and a group of teachers had stopped by to wish the bride and groom well.

 

At about 1:30 the bride and groom went to get beautiful, so we all piled into a pickup truck and headed over to a nearby Buddha park. Dan's girlfriend, who joined us that afternoon, identified this place as Wat Vadpa Donpud. This was another set of statuary set in a wooded park which gave the interesting effect of walking in the woods only to "discover" a giant Buddha statue or mythical creature staring at you as you enter a clearing. The weather was hot and humid; the moisture made even thicker by the dampness of the forest floor.

 

Interestingly, I was unable to find any data about this place on the web, either by name or by matching a description to a different name. If anybody else has been here and knows anything about this place, please post and fill us in.

 

After the "snapita" incident in Laos, I had given Lady Mangosteen some "through the viewfinder composition" lessons. My aching legs failing me, I handed her the camera and off she ventured. What she came back with was excellent, and much of what is presented in this post is her camera work.

 

I have decided to break this day into two parts because of the large number of pictures. The next installment (also the last) will document the wedding itself.

 

Pictures from the Buddha park:

 

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Edited by Bruce Mangosteen

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Bruce Mangosteen
Bruce, just finished examining your TR! Outstanding is all I have got to say, wonderful pics and story. I hope to do a complete SE Asia tour one day and your report plus the others from Vietnam, Cambo, and Laos are helping me out.

 

The pics are amazing, great of you to share with us. :P

Thanks. Glad you are enjoying it. :wacko:

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Bruce Mangosteen

Day 5, Part 2: The Wedding and Party

 

 

We headed back to the party, and the bride and groom arrived about half an hour later. Jay's girl was radiant, and Jay was what I would describe as "very large". He laughingly told the story of his girl warning the wedding shop that Jay was 4XL, and the shop lady saying "No way, impossible" until he walked through the door. It took her two days to round up the proper size duds, which to her credit she did, and Jay arrived looking like a giant Mr. Clean.

 

The ceremony was the village string-around-the-head deal, with much chanting and bazillions of bits of string tied on all and sundry. Afterward, there was live entertainment featuring a male singer/keyboard player and 3 14-year old girls who sang beautifully and were dressed 'WAAAAAAAAAY too suggestively. Life starts young upcountry, and it was obvious by watching the girls dance that at least one of them was already wise to the ways of men.

 

The usual drinking and merry-making ensued. I was again struck by how similar this family gathering was to the ones I am used to from back home. I have been to a fair few upcountry parties of various sorts, and it is amusing to identify the various personalities from our own parties: The bright-star kid, the young turks, the blushing teen girls, the hard-working laborers, the big-city success stories, the snooty married up beyond their status wives, the respected elders, etc.

 

At about 11:00, Lady Mangosteen judged that I had had plenty to drink, and we made our way back to the hotel. After a bit of a feed I crashed hard. Tomorrow will be the taxi-airplane rigamarole, so off to bed, another adventure successfully concluded.

 

Pics:

 

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Sunny and his pride and joy. I think they use a camera like this to take pictures from satellites!

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Lady M. goes native.

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Souveniers from the past.

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Kids enjoying themselves.

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Jay and his wife's wedding pictures. Note that it is a traditional village ceremony.

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Formalities over, time to party!

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Thanks for reading. Sorry for the delay posting, as I said the internet in the hotel in Udon was almost as expensive as the fooking ROOM, so I had to wait until I got back before posting. That and also I have been alternating between busy and lazy the last week or so.

 

Hope you enjoyed.

Edited by Bruce Mangosteen

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Dr.Winston

Thanks for the TR Bruce, top notch. I love this sort of thing. I wonder what camera you used? I like the way it can deal with the contrast between the subject and the sky. Some of those shots in Vientiane with the moody skies were great! Thanks :Number1a:

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Bruce Mangosteen
Thanks for the TR Bruce, top notch. I love this sort of thing. I wonder what camera you used? I like the way it can deal with the contrast between the subject and the sky. Some of those shots in Vientiane with the moody skies were great! Thanks :P
Thanks, bro. I used a Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ3, which I am coming to like quite a lot as I get used to it. However, I will admit to tweaking the gamma and contrast on some of the shots, as I am sure many of us do, to improve the detail on some of them. Glad you enjoyed. :D

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sbcp
An application (check), two passport pictures (check), and one signed photocopy each of your picture page, your Lao visa, and your Lao departure card (ooooooooooooops!)

I wouldn't have had those photocopies either, time to make a note of that for my run coming up in two weeks

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Bruce Mangosteen
I wouldn't have had those photocopies either, time to make a note of that for my run coming up in two weeks
Good luck mate.

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cmyradnad

Thanks for the great read and photo stops Mr Mangosteen.

 

Thoroughly enjoyed the chronology of your trip.

 

Congrats to the lucky Bride and Groom. Wishing them both health and wealth in

combination with exceeding happiness.

 

Rad

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