Saturday, 30 April 2016

Hue Festival 2016 - Day 2

Another day at the Hue Festival and it feels like I'm always at the wrong venue and the wrong side of the river.

Still, I wanted to see the things around the Citadel and check out the international food fair.

The food fair was quite busy and there were a lot of hotels showcasing their cooking. There were some stalls selling food from around Asia but it mostly boiled down to bbq and sticky rice.

Still, it's been fun to walk around and take photos although I should have probably gone to see the Ao Dai fashion show or gone inside the Citadel for the events there.

Friday, 29 April 2016

Hue Festival 2016 - Day 1

This post was supposed to have two parts in it, first about my morning trip to A Luoi and back and then the evening part about my walk around the Hue Festival.

I decided to keep it all about the Hue Festival in the end as it made more sense and will tie in better with the upcoming days.

Today marked the start of the Hue Festival 2016, the international arts and performance festival held every 2 years.

There are a quite a few different events and performances planned over the next few days and there are quite a few art and light installations around the city.

It should be a fun and interesting festival.

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

A Drive Around Hue

Since I've had the. Morning and afternoon off, I decided to go for a drive around Hue and show a friend the sights.

We started off well and visited some of the places in Hue, the villages nearby and the beach before setting off on a longer loop.

The loop did go well at first but was soon stopped by some very nice Vietnamese guys who invited us for a beer.

I don't need to mention that one beer became many and by the time we left it was late so we just turned back and drove back to Hue.

It's days like these that remind me why I like living in Vietnam so much and why I decided to move here in the first place.

Friday, 22 April 2016

Life Through a Dusty Windowpane

X Play, f2.0, 1/212, ISO 50, JPG

Teaching in a primary school and seeing the kids playing, fighting and just having fun was like looking through a dusty window in the past. I can't quite explain it but it kind of shows what we lose by growing up, we lose a lot of freedom, carelessness, joy and just having fun.
In a way, kids in the West lose this even sooner now thanks to stupid laws and regulations. It's nice to remember how uncomplicated life used to be as a kid and in parts still is here in Asia where it's less stressful and less regulated than back in Europe or the US.

Today's photo and post is about remembering to stop every now and then and look back at life when it was less complicated and more fun. It's about trying to get this back even for a short time because life shouldn't be complicated or stressful.

So  just go out and enjoy your weekend, do things you did when you were a kid and forget about being and adult or old for a while.

Thursday, 7 April 2016

490km from Thakek to Hue

Knowing it would be a long ride back to Hue, I set off early in the morning. It was also an attempt to get as much distance done as possible in Laos before it got too hot.

If you even want to know how it feels to drive through an oven, just wait till midday and take the road between Seno and Lao Bao.

Still, I made great progress and after a quick border stop I was in Vietnam having enough time to take the long way via A Luoi back to Hue.

It's funny how the dust suddenly stops after you cross the border and the temperature gets more bearable.

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Thakek Evening

After what was a quick drive from Vientiane to Thakek, I had more than enough time to relax and enjoy the city in the evening.

I liked Thakek from the first time I saw it but after spending more time here, I have to say it's growing on me.

While it doesn't have much entertainment or night life, it's relaxed and laid back so exactly what I am looking for.

The ride tomorrow will be a 460km drive back to Hue and in a way I'm glad to go back to Vietnam despite enjoying Laos more this time round.

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Looking Good

GR, f2.8, 1/125, ISO 800, RAW

My last day in Vientiane for now, my visa stuff was all done in the afternoon but it was too late to leave so I decided to stay one more night.

Tomorrow, it's going to be back to Thakek over 350km of pretty boring and uninspiring road but at least it will be quick.

Monday, 4 April 2016

In Vientiane (Again)

TG-4, f2.0, 1/1000, ISO 125, RAW

The 150km from Paksan to Vientiane were mostly boring but easy and allowed to drive very fast. Aside from my bike still making a lot of noise and also managing to get a puncture from a big nail on the road, it was uneventful.

Back in Vientiane it was time to part ways, I had to finish things at the embassy here before heading back to Hue in the next day or two.

Sunday, 3 April 2016

Change in Plans (or the Road to Paksan)

We set off in the morning to finally get to Phonsavan and visit the 'Plain of Jars' before heading back to Vang Vieng.

The 'Plain of Jars' is pretty cool and worth a visit if you're in the area but not necessary a de-tour to get here just for that. Phonsavan is a strange city with rice fields right in the middle and quite a few Vietnamese coffee shops and restaurants.

During breakfast and while looking at the map, we found a road that leads to Paksan and from there to Vientiane while saving quite a bit of time and distance. So instead of heading to Vang Vieng, we decided to head for Vientiane or at least Paksan.

The road looked very new, it was nice and easy to drive without too much traffic so we were on track to make it not only to Paksan but also to Vientiane before it got dark.

Well, this being Laos there are always surprises and we had one after a nice coffee break. The road so far has been great and we made progress faster than expected. At this pace we would have had enough time to get to Vientiane comfortably.

The road suddenly stopped being good, or a road at all, and we were left with a soon to become road under construction.
This wasn't too bad since it was still relatively easy to drive on it, until this came to a complete stop. We were stuck at complete road closure for about 45 minutes, this meant there was no way to get to Vientiane before it got dark and even Paksan wouldn't be possible before it got dark.

Needless to say even after we made it past the road closure, the last 80km took a lot longer and we made it to Paksan in the evening in time for dinner and some drinks.

Worryingly, my motorbike developed a very loud exhaust noise for some reason but there was no time to look at it or fix it today.