Follow petcha on Twitter
Amazon Associate

If you see books or music or tools on this site that you would like to buy through Amazon, click here and thus i have seen will get a small percentage of the purchase price of the item. Thank you. 

The Elements of Typographic Style

Patagonia Synchilla Snap-T Pullover

Minding the Earth, Mending the Word: Zen and the Art of Planetary Crisis

North Face Base Camp Duffel (Medium)




Entries in Laos (45)


Phou Pha Mane

View from Phou Pha Mane mountain, the highest peak in the Phou Hin Boun Biodiversity Conservation Area in Khammouane Province of Lao, PDR. Gorgeous limestone forest with thousands of karst pinnacles. [NOTE: Lot of cool flora and fauna live here. In  particular, the Laotian rock rat or kya nyou (Laonastes aenigmamus), belonging to the ancient fossil family, Diatomyidae, thought to be extinct for 11 million years].


Mouse Traps

Walking back to the village of Sobphouan after finishing the rattan inventory training (see Thin Red Line), I met up with this gentleman who was heading out to his field carrying a bundle of long sticks topped with bamboo tubes. I asked Bansa Thammavong, who I was walking with, what these were and he replied, somewhat incredulous that I had never seen such things, that they were mouse traps. [NOTE: Beautiful, handcrafted tools for pest control, but I don't really understand how they work. Anybody?]


Agarwood II

More shots from the agarwood factory outside of Pak Kading in Laos (see Agarwood). Truly a wondrous and incredibly photogenic place. To illustrate the basic workflow in the factory, the raw material (shown above in the background) is first choppped into small pieces (mid-frame) and allowed to dry in the sun for several days. Under the watchful eyes of several (plastic) bodhisattvas in the colorful altar.

A slurry is made from the wood pieces and this is allowed to brew for several more days. This slurry is then distilled using a wood fire (logs are slowly fed into the firebox) in a large brick furnace. 

The final distillate is collected in an intriguing piece of glassware (burette?) straight out of a Victorian chemistry lab. [NOTE: The color of the sky and the wispy clouds shown in the first image give some idea of the amazing weather experienced during this trip to Laos. Counting rattans in a light sweater. No bugs. This is about as good as it gets].


Monks On A Bus

Self explanatory.  A group of Theravadan monks in the back of a collective taxi during rush hour in downtown Vientiane, Laos. They look quite calm. The traffic was total chaos. 


Si Saket Still Life

Incense and flower offerings at the base of a stupa in the main courtyard at Wat Si Saket (see Wat Si Saket) in Vientiane, Laos. 


Santa in Vientiane

Happened on this scene walking down a side street in central Vientiane, Laos. The horse had plastic reindeer antlers tied on his head and Santa was sweating profusely. Merry Christmas, everyone. [NOTE: Wonder what the mother is spraying into the air at 1:00?]



All of the seedlings that we counted in the inventory at Ban Sobphuan (see Thin Red Line) were covered with a thin film of fine sediment. Apparently, earlier in the year the nearby Nam Theun 2 hydroelectric dam released a large amount of excess water and flooded most of the forests at Ban Sobphuan. Sediment load in the water suggests that the flooding caused quite a bit of erosion. [NOTES: The World Bank-funded Nam Theun 2 dam, with an estimated constructed cost of US $1.3 billion, is the largest foreign investment in Laos to date. Rattan seedling is Calamus solitarius T. Evans & al.]. 


Bolikhamsai Landscape

Another shot of the Nam Theun river, this one looking back toward the beautiful karst formations of Bolikhamsai Province in Laos where the rattan inventory training was conducted last week. More on this later.


Boats From B-52's

Boats made from the jettisoned fuel tanks of B-52 bombers docked in the Nam Theun river of Bolikhamsai Province, Laos. Aircraft-grade aluminum joined with rivets. Lasts forever. These shiny, streamlined boats are about 50 years old and used daily. Gifts from the U.S. Air Force.



Young monk in Vientiane texting with his iPhone in the courtyard of Wat Si Saket (see Sweeping Up and Wat Si Saket). [NOTE: An urgent question to his teacher?]