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Entries in Laos (45)


The Dragon at Haw Phra Kaew

The stairs leading up to Haw Phra Kaew temple in Vientiane are flanked by lovely carved dragons. It's a long story, but the temple was originally built in 1565 by King Setthathirath and then destroyed during the Siamese-Lao war of 1828. The French re-built it (sort of) between 1936 and 1942. [NOTE: The French were supposedly following the orginal 16th-century plan of Haw Phra Kaew, but the resultant structure looks more like a 19th-century Bangkok sĭm, or sanctuary. Still breathtakingly beautiful].


Rat Trap

This wonderful example of handcrafted pest control (see Mouse Traps) is a Khmu rat trap from the Traditional Art and Ethnology Center (TEAC) in Luang Prabang. Not really sure how this thing works, but I bet the rock is what interacts with the rat. [NOTE: TEAC is a small but lovely museum with a well-curated collection of traditional art and utilitarian items from a variety of different ethnic groups in Lao PDR].


Back To Si Saket

Case and I walked across the border into Laos at Lao Bao, Vietnam yesterday and then spent 11 hours driving to Vientiane. Saw a lot of beautiful karst and bounced through thousands of potholes on Rt. 9. Slept well last night. As a reward for the long road trip, I stopped by Wat Si Saket (see Wat Si Saket and Wat Si Saket (Revisited)) after my meeting at the WWF office. Spent a long time admiring the exquisite wooden statue shown above. [NOTE: Can't believe I never noticed this piece before; must be a new addition].


Thong Namy Market II


Another image from the wonderful Thong Namy market (see Thong Namy Market) in Bolikhamsai Province, Laos. I took several shots of this vendor. She was staying so busy cleaning and trimming and arranging the few items that she had for sale. [NOTE: I bought some ginger and got a beautiful smile].




Another view of the District Forestry office in Lak Sao, Laos (see Training in Lak Sao). This is what things look like in the evening, when thoughts of sustainable forestry have been replaced with visions of shuttlecocks, carbon fiber racquets,  and forehand slams. Badminton is very popular in Laos.




A triptych of images from an ill-fated pétanque set in Lak Sao in which my team failed to score any points in three different games. Image above shows Bansa (see Training in Lak Sao) throwing out his first boule. [NOTE: Bansa is wearing a lovely Hawaiian shirt].

Boules aligned around the cochonnet, or jack. Note that the two engraved boules, belonging to the opposing team, are the closest to the jack.

Scorekeeper slides the opposing team's scale to 3 as the round finishes. My team is still at zero. We stayed at zero the whole game. [NOTE: It was not entirely my fault.]. 


More Red Lines


Still life from Donsard, Laos (see Donsard) as we are getting all of the equipment sorted out to run inventory transects. Compasses, clipboards, tally sheets, and the knotted red transect rope used to correct for slope and layout the plot (see Thin Red Line).


Cambodia and Laos

The rattan shown above is Calamus solitarius T.Evans, K. Sengdala, O. Viengkam, B. Thammvong & J. Dransf., an important commercial cane in Laos and Cambodia. I leave this weekend for Laos and Cambodia to give several training workshops on the sustainable management of C. solitarius in community forests. [NOTE: In spite of its commerical importance, this rattan was unnamed until 2000 (see Field Herbarium). Go here for original species description].

Image below shows a size-specific growth curve for C. solitarius based on 4 years of data collected from wild populations near Ban Sobphuan in Laos (see Thin Red Line and Lunch at Ban Sobphuan). The coefficient of determination could be better, but given the total lack of reliable growth data from wild rattan, the basic importance of these data for defining a sustainable harvest level, and the fact that these data were collected by local staff in Laos, this is a priceless scatterplot (and regression equation). [NOTE: Data are, as yet, unpublished, so please don't touch. Thx]. 


Management Planning II

This is what participatory forest management looks like. In this case, managing for rattan in Laos. Baseline data on rattan density from community inventories shown in the background on the flipcharts. I did the writing, so it's a little messy. Bansa Thammavong (WWF Laos; with blue dry marker) and Thibault Ledecq (Regional Director of WWF Rattan Project; with beard) stand up front and try to explain what it means; Le Viet Tam (WWF Vietnam; right foregound) takes notes on his computer. Massive (and extremely heavy) wooden chairs, a highly polished conference table, plates of snacks, and several bouquets of plastic flowers. It was Saturday and we were in the main conference room at the Provincial Governor's office in Lak Sao. Can only assume that we had permission to be there. 


Lunch at Ban Sobphuan

After running the inventory transects at Ban Sobphuan (see Thin Red Line and Sediments), we returned to the village and were served a delicious, multi-course lunch. The hand on the right side of the image is pointing to the tasty rattan shoots on the plate with the fish. [NOTE: That's Le Viet Tam (WWF Vietnam) on the left and Ou Ratanak (WWF Cambodia) to the right with the colorful scarf tied around his waist].

The young, tender (mostly) shoots are from Calamus viminalis Willd. ("wai ton")which is grown in small plantings near the agricultural fields outside of town. Lunch was delicious - as were the rattan shoots.