So this is Laos
A much belated entry on Laos. It's hard to sum up a quick two weeks in such an amazing country. The heat and the Thai pop drumming loudly in the background make it impossible at the moment for me to gain the presence of mind to say anything about the country that would do it justice - so instead I'll steal a passage from a book that more or less gives the feeling we've had here and let the photos do the rest of the talking.
"French colonial administrators sent to Laos felt they had been posted to an earthly paradise. The tolerant, easy habits of the native people and the slow casual way they lived their lives had a charm impossible to find anywhere else. The most commonly used phrase in the language, Bo Pen Yong meaning "It doesn't matter," was spoken with conviction as an article of faith...Frenchmen who became immersed in Laotion life became a recognizable type, their quiet, undemonstrative voices, calm manners, and gentle rapt expressions reminded one of the victims of successful lobotomy operations, untroubled and mildly libidinous." (Christopher Robbins, The Ravens: Pilots of the Secret War in Laos).
This was, of course, prior to the many wars that ravaged the country. However, despite the legacy of violence and a rather strict communist regime in power, Laos still casts a very similar spell as it did so many decades before.