Here’s the scoop, the low-down and the update on Savannakhet : it is a (presently) dry, sleepy provincial town with nothing to do and nothing to see.
The Savannakhet market is a huge sprawling affair, with rows of soup vendors. The Zeph and I enjoyed a wonderful chicken soup for breakfast and let ourselves be caressed by the sights and sounds, smells and flavours of this delightful urban gathering.
New Year’s Eve dinner was eaten at the Dao Savanh Restaurant. We reserved a table but it wasn’t necessary. The upstairs dining room was elegant, tastefully decorated and totally empty. Excellent food and wines, nice music, excellent service.
Walking through the nighttime streets after dinner was a treat; the Lao are party animals and we were invited to dance, to drink, to dance and to drink in the spontaneous outpouring of joy and generosity we have come to expect here. Human relations in this country are a treat.
Now that we have been back a few days, a sort of physical nostalgia is setting in for Savannakhet – it is a smaller Vientiane where time has stopped, traffic is less oppressive and the old French villas are allowed to crumble rather than being replaced by tasteless and gaudy Chinese pink cream pies. The river flows by it peacefully and time stands still.
Tomorrow I off on a bicycle trip: fresh country air and a bit of roughing it. Updates to follow.
Many thanks to my brother-in-law, Marc Boneu, for some of his photos and allowing me to use his wonderful camera to take others.