With a population of just a shade over 100,000, Vientiane is small for an Asian capital. There's not a lot going on there but as with much of Laos it's a pleasant enough place if you've got a few days to kill.

Right: Haw Pha Kaeo

During Pii mai (Laos New Year) locals visit the city's temples to place water on the Buddhas and to receive blessings from the monks. Drips collected from the Buddha are then placed on the hair and is supposed to bring good luck.

Haw Pha Kaeo

In Vientiane I got my hands on a copy of Kurt Vonnegut Jr.'s "Player Piano" It's a bit dated but a good read nonetheless, in which a bored proletariat rise up to destroy the machine driven utopia. It was published in 1952.


A stamp on the inner cover reads "Walkabout Bookshop" Our Lady of Health Complex, Masal Viddo, Anjuna, Goa". The cover has been rebound with pages from a medical dictionary, with entries such as:

Helmintheasis: A morbid state due to the presence of worms in the intestines. Anorectal: Disorders of the terminal end of the intestine i.e. anus and rectum.

It strikes me that some of these books are far more travelled than I am!