The French influence is all around from the writing on signs to the fluffy croissants served in cute cafes. There is even a modern imitation of the Arc du Triomphe, a concrete arch in the middle of a huge round about. Built in 1962, it was made with concrete donated by the Americans to build an airport. Now stands a stucture, it's own sign even saying it becomes less impressive as you get closer. Up top is a great way to view the golden stupa from a distance, the famous structure printed on the cover of the Laos Lonely Planets.
Tried out a weaving course at a Woman's Training Centre North of the city. They use the traditional looms to make silk fabrics, similar to what I see everywhere. Even with all the strings counted and the pattern pre-determined, it took a lot of concentration to remember all the steps. Kup patiently demonstrated the steps without hardly saying a word. Emily and I were in a silent meditation of: step on the right pedal, pass the black thread through, flip up the wooden plank, weave each row of coloured threads, push the threads together, repeat with the left, lower the bamboo stick to change the pattern, replace the wood, flip it up... After 3 solid hours I managed to create a scarf about 2 inches long. I think I will just continue to buy all my fabrics ready made! P