Category Archives: Things I do…

Wat Lao Saophuth Buddhist Temple, Sacramento CA (April 27th and 28th)

The nice thing about living in Northern California, there are so many Lao Temples all over Northern California within 1 or 2 hrs drives.  Which meant the whole month of April is Lao New Year celebrations going on everywhere.  Most neighboring cities always tried to avoid hosting it same weekend to maximize the potential profits :-).  Lucky for me, I got to attend two different Lao New Year events this year.

On Saturday, I didn’t make it out to the temple til late afternoon.  It was so hot, the first heat wave hitting the Northern California and I wasn’t ready for it.  Once we go to the temple, first thing we did was to look for a shady spot to camp out at.  There are so many venders setting up booths around the temple perimeters.  I didn’t get a chance to walk around much due to the heat.  I got a chance to captured few pictures from the beauty contest.

Since my mom and sister missed the Saturday “tuk bard”, they both asked if I can drive them on Sunday morning.  Usually, I always slept in on the weekend.

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Sabaidee Pee Mai (Happy New Year)

It is been awhile since my last blog.  First of all, I like to wish everyone “Sok Dee Pee Mai” (Happy New Year).  Most of the Lao/Cambodian temples around Northern California are hosting New Year festivals this past weekend.  This year, I only made it to the local temple to celebrate the New Year festivities.  I didn’t make it out to Modesto temple because I was glued to the television watching The Master.  Most people probably thinks golf is the most boring sport to watch on television, but that wasn’t the case on Sunday afternoon.

Anyways, back to the New Year celebrations… Such an event like this brings out a lot of people in the community.  I ran into so many old friends and old neighbors that I normally do not get to see.  Here are some of the pictures I took from the event.

Left: DaoDuangMai from Laos; Right: Ms. Darling from San Diego, CA

Left: DaoDuangMai from Laos; Right: Ms. Darling from San Diego, CA

2 of the contestants show up late and miss out on photo session.

2 of the contestants show up late and miss out on photo session.

Contestant#4 Former Beauty Former Beauty1 Contestants1 The winner The winner1 2nd1st3rd

Sabaidee

Wow! It is been so long since the last time I blog… Everything feels weird to me, I’m not sure if I actually knows how to publish this blog or not.  I missed reading people blogs that I’ve followed and comments on.  So this blog I’ll try to keep it short, while I am trying to familiar myself with this new WordPress.

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Taken with Canon EOS 60D and EF 40mm f/2.8 STM Pancake Lens.

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Taken with Canon EOS 60D and EF 40mm f/2.8 STM Pancake Lens.

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Taken with Canon EOS 60D and EF 40mm f/2.8 STM Pancake Lens.

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Taken with Canon EOS 60D and EF 40mm f/2.8 STM Pancake Lens.

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Taken with Canon EOS 60D and EF 40mm f/2.8 STM Pancake Lens.

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Taken with Canon EOS 60D and EF 40mm f/2.8 STM Pancake Lens.

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Taken with Canon EOS 60D and EF 40mm f/2.8 STM Pancake Lens.

Amgen Tour of California – Stage 3

I finally got a chance to witness a professional bicycle tour up close and personal.  It was quite an amazing to see how fast these guys are flying around the corner.  These 128 guys are the top cycling of the world competing in this tour.  The tour consist of 8 stages race from Northern to Southern California.

My co-worker and I took off from work little early to catch the race.  The stage 3 start in downtown San Jose and finishing it in Livermore.  It is about 115.3 miles (185.5 km) race for this stage.  We waited for the race in this tiny farming town of Byron, the whole race lasted about 8 minutes after an hour of waiting.  The two men breakaway group was ahead of the main peloton about 7 minutes.

The two breakaway group. At this point they both already ridden about 88 miles and have about 27 more miles to go to finish line.

Here comes the main peloton group.

Even those team cars are hauling ass around the corner.

Double clicks on the picture to view a larger size.

 

Xieng Khouang, Laos

I finally made it to Xieng Khouang after all these years I visited Laos.  I am so glad I included Xieng Khouang as one of my destination on this trip.  We decided to fly up Xieng Khouang instead of driving, I’ll take my chance on air versus those windy mountain roads.  Even though it seems to be a bit expensive for 45 minutes flight.  It costs us about 1.5 million kips ($180) each for round-trip tickets.  The price was little high due to the changes departure location – we flew back to Vientiane from Luangprabang instead of Xieng Khouang.

This trip would be difficult if I try to do it alone.  It is nice to have a friend that knows the streets around town and have a nice place to stay – especially when it is free of charge :-).  I actually stayed at the Mulberries Farm just the edge of the town.  Check out their website http://www.mulberries.org/.

Yep!! That is it folks... That is Xieng Khouang Airport.

The Melberries Farm

shop

Workers clearing the weeds..

Hours of labor before finish products

Love the foggy morning.. That is the farm house I stay during my visit.

pine trees

The view from the top floor of farm house.. Across all those rolling hills is the Airport... So peaceful and quite there... awesome place to relax and ponder about life.

We sat out there chit chat til the darkness falls... I miss that town... I miss that one person also 🙂

Stay tune for more pictures from Plain of Jars.

Bane Lard Kuay, Vientiane

Most of my friends from Vientiane have no idea where Bane Lard Kuay located or some never heard of it at all.  It is about 18 Km Northeast of town center.  This is where my cousin and his wife relocated to – they both retired early and decided they had enough of U.S.  Sold the house and most of their belongings to start a new life in Laos about 3 years ago.  They are both fortunate to inherited some nice chunk of land along Nam Ngeum River.  But, they did a lot of clearing the woods and earth moving before the house can be built.

Personally, I don’t think I can live out there.  It is kind of far from the city and it is middle of no where.  Their neighbors are probably 1/2 miles away.  The back side of property sits along Ngam Ngeume River, its the most peaceful view to ponder about life.

It is still early for dokchampa season. This picture was taken back in middle of February. It is probably full bloom right now cause it is close to Lao New Year. This champa tree is right on the edge of river bank.

up close..

It is not fully ripe yet.. I didn't get to taste it

Mark Kang..

They raises livestock on other side of property...I lost counts of how many type of animals are in this barn.

This dog likes to watch the fishermen from edge of river bank.

Life can't get any better than this...

 

2012 Elephant Festival – Xayabouri, Laos

As I traveled throughout the Northern part of Laos for a week and one of the destination was Xayabouri.  I am so glad, I had the opportunity to attend this year 6th Annual Elephant Festival.  There are 6 of us total, we rented a van with drivers included for $1,000,000.00 kips($125) that takes us from Luangprabang to Xayabouri.  The road condition is horrible – mostly dusty dirt road cutting through the hills.  It took us good 4hrs hours on the road and that’s including the down time waiting for the ferry boat.  We made it to the town almost noon and we missed most of schedule events.  That’s including the elephants parade and the traditional baci ceremony.  But, I still manage to captured some pictures.

I heard from the locals, this is probably one of the biggest turn out. Half of the people probably left already by the time I took this picture.

Those folks on the mound are waiting for their turns to ride them elephants. It is so unsafe trying to get on and off. I don't know how much they charge for 10 or 15 minutes ride.

It was hot and dusty that afternoon. I was wearing slippers, which was a very bad idea. There is no set tracks or directions for those elephants to follow. They seems to be going around the circle.

poo sao 🙂

They even had a beauty pageant contest.. I'm not sure if anyone of those gals are excited to be call Miss Elephant 2012. hahahhaha I spotted this gal whooshing through the crowd, I quickly snap my camera..

Our drivers for this trip... Looks like they are enjoying the festival as well..

There are vendors set up along the road that sells just about anything you can think of. In this case it is fresh bamboo shoots.

Fresh squeeze sugarcane...

Hungry anyone???? Looks like chicken heads bbq

The organizers of this event should built a ramp to allow easy access for people. These poor elephants knee down and up all day so folks can get on.

Those elephants love the water and never wants to leave..

We left Xayabouri as soon as the festival was over. By the time we got to the MeKong River, the line for ferry crossing is pretty long. I think we waited for an hour before it was our turn.

This is the ferry got us across the river. They are building a bridge just south of this ferry crossing and should be done in a year.

So, we made it back to Luangprabang around 8:30pm that evening.  Stay tune for more blogs about my trip.