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ສະບາຍດີປີໃຫມ່ຈາກວັດລາວພຸທທະຣັງສີ Modesto, California… Happy New Year from Lao Temple in Modesto, Ca

It is been so long since I last wrote a blog.  At first, I didn’t think my blog still exist.  I thought WordPress probably removed my site because I haven’t been posting anything for so long.  Well, I wish you all a Happy New Year.

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Sabaidee..

Wow!!! it’s been so long ago since the last time I’ve blog.  Almost a year and half to be precise.  I don’t even know where to begin.  A lot of readers or followers probably wonder where I’ve been all these time.  I took a break to catch up on my personal life.. I did a lot of travels and took so many pictures. So, stay tune for more rants from me…

Sabaidee 🙂

Sok Dee Pee Mai (Happy Lao New Year)

Sok Dee Pee Mai as all laotians throughout the world say to each other.  I wish all my friends, families and readers a happy and healthy new year.  There are several new year celebrations throughout the Northern California, but the weather might spoiled the parties.  I hope to attend at least one of the festival, so stay tune for pictures.

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.

Signs

If you ever travel through Laos, most likely that you will run into some odd signs along the way.  I didn’t captured all the crazy signs I saw, but managed to come back with few funny signs.  Perhaps, the Department of Transportation ever thought about standardized their road signs.  Throughout the country, most streets are without names or not post it properly.  I am not even sure if some of those streets are given its name to begin with.

Also, signs from various tourist destinations aren’t standardized at all.  This blog is simply bringing out some humors of all these signs.  I love Laos, but common people.. Let’s get this right!! Some of these signs might take couple times of reading before you bust out a laugh.

Talking about missing in translation... Those words in Lao simply said.. Caution, Slippery Area.

Tharng pai yil... hahahah Love the picture

Noodle shoup for 10,000 kips.. hahah I actually ate there once and it is pretty good.

Why bother paying for the sign? When you can go ahead and write it on the wall.. hahhahah This is pretty typical in Laos.

Again.. Lao word said.. No Passing but in english.. Danger!! hahaha This sign is from one of the waterfall in Champasak.

walkingdow??? lol

hahhaha This one is pretty funny.. In Lao, it simply said.. This way down to the bottom of fall..
Way down.... lol

I found this sign at Wat Phou, Champasak..

Construction site next to Khop Chai Deu Restaurant.. Classic!!

Wat Sisaket, I was charged as the locals... 2,000 kips($0.25)

This is probably the funniest sign of all. I found this sign at the Victory Gate Monument(Arnousawaree).

Asian vs. American Persimmon

It is that time of the year for all persimmon lovers out there. Persimmon is not for everyone, either you like it or you don’t. I prefer asian persimmon over the american one because of its texture. Couple of weekends ago, I stop to check on my folks and their asian persimmons are almost ready to be pick. It is just the way I like it, not too ripe and still somewhat crunchy.

As far as american persimmon, I’ve tried it once and didn’t like it at all. American persimmon needs to be super ripe before you can even try eating it. Also, so much fiber comparing to asian one.

This is my dad asian persimmon tree and the only tree he have. Tiny little tree produces so much fruits.

I stop by 3 or 4 days ago, all those persimmons are long gone. My parents love to snack on it.

Just right!!! It is ready to be pick

These are american persimmons that belong to my dad next door neighbor. Notices the size and shape?

The american persimmon takes awhile to get really ripe. Most people makes cookies out of persimmon.

So, which persimmon do you normally eat?

Jujube aka “Chinese Apple”

About 1 1/2 year ago, my dad gave me this little tiny jujube tree and I didn’t it would survive the first winter.  But, it did and also it is the first year of this tiny tree to produce some fruit.  The only regret is that I planted too close to the japanese maple and the european beech trees, but I really don’t have much space elsewhere.

Prior to writing this blog, I didn’t really know the common name of this particular fruit.  Although, I know it is similar to “mark tun” as people back in Laos refers to this fruit.  After talking to my landscape buddy and checking his reference books I managed to narrow it down.  The official name of this fruit is “Zizyphus Jujube” aka Chinese Apple.

This picture was taken last year back in June 28th of 2010. Also was taken with my old camera rebel Xsi/18-200 IS lense.

This picture was taken back in Sept. 15th of this month with new camera and lense. What a big difference:-).

Notices the different sizes of the jujube tree in between the japanese maple and european beech tree.  I’m glad that I planted all those trees as soon as I moved in.

Close up of the jujube tree. I need to get some new tree posts.

I forgot to count the number of fruits. I'm guessing it is probably somewhere between 10-15.

It is almost there, maybe in a week or so.. I can get my first taste

Mom stop by to get some banana leaf to wraps her "kao tome". I didn't think she would clean it all up like this.