Raphael Kessler

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Laos is one of those places most people have never heard of. There are some lovely parts to the country and the temple complex at Wat Phou (photos 1-3) was built by the same people who created the Angkor complex. The custodians there are quite relaxed (photo 4) as are most of the Laotians, it being a very good place just to take it easy.

  • (c) Copyright - Raphael Kessler 2011 - Laos - Wat Phou
  • (c) Copyright - Raphael Kessler 2011 - Laos - Wat Phou
  • (c) Copyright - Raphael Kessler 2011 - Laos - Wat Phou entrance way
  • (c) Copyright - Raphael Kessler 2011 - Laos - Old lady at Wat Phou getting her beauty sleep
The country has several large rivers running through (photo 1) it which are used as transport arteries. They also make the country very fertile as well as making some lovely waterfalls where the locals would have fun bathing in the spray (photo 2).
  • (c) Copyright - Raphael Kessler 2011 - Laos - Waterfall near Vang Vieng
  • (c) Copyright - Raphael Kessler 2011 - Laos - Monks bathing near Vang Vieng

When I got to Luang Prabang there was a festival on and the highlight of it was the boat races. With my press card I managed to get myself and my friends in to the VIP enclosure, just a few feet away from the Prime Minister. We watched a few of the races, but were disappointed by the lack of enthusiasm from the crowds so decided to get them going. We started chanting for one team or another as they battled it out and it is a good thing that few people would have understood what we were saying. Within a short while we were the focus of attention, with the bookmakers getting us involved in their business and the band following our prompts as to who we believed to be favourites. The television cameras hardly left us as we cheered and jeered and it was amusing to have become minor celebrities so quickly with Laotians trying to understand our predictions for the finals. There were some incredibly dramatic races, with the two favourite teams tying twice as they crossed the finish line and having to repeat the course until a winner could be decided. It was all good fun and we managed to confuse a lot of the locals with our analysis.
(c) Copyright - Raphael Kessler 2011 - Laos - Not quite the university boat race


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