Tag Archives: Laotians

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


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.

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.


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).

The Colors of Fall

Finally, it is feeling the fall here in Northern California.  This year weather has been exceptionally warm for the October and November.  The temperature was in the low 80’s Fahrenheit for the last weekend of October.   I even had my house exteriors painted on that weekend.  I’ll take this kind of weather any day comparing to all the winter storms in East Coast.

Today, I’ve notices some of the trees are changing colors.  I went out and snapped few pictures before Sunday morning football kickoff.

changing colors

The japanese maple still looks bright red


first Lily in the fall...


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?

Human Trafficking

After reading this article below,  I am sad and heart broken to see so many young laotians women are the victims of human trafficking.  Most of these young ladies are probably from small villages and promised good paying jobs in Thailand.  Since, there aren’t much jobs available in villages near them.  Majority of these young ladies are probably misled by the recruiter to work at some fancy hotels or restaurants.  Once they arrived in Thailand, it is totally different story.  Part of the blame is the government, not creating jobs for the people.  It is sad stories for all those young ladies, dreams of making a good living turns nightmare quickly.  I hope the two countries are working hard on battling this issue of human trafficking.

Flesh trade’s newest victims

Dozens of Lao girls have fallen prey to a gang in Songkhla’s tourist district

Young Lao women and girls seeking a better life in Thailand are at risk of being lured into the flesh trade by human trafficking gangs, a senior police officer has warned.

The Anti-Human Trafficking Division has been closely monitoring one gang following the arrest of two Thai women accused of conning girls into the prostitution business and illegally detaining them.

Benjawan Chaiprew, 32, and Pranom Kottirak , 47, both natives of Kalasin, were arrested on Sept 20 following a complaint filed by a woman, who asked not to be named, that her 14-year-old daughter had been lured into the sex trade by Ms Benjawan and Ms Pranom, who were their neighbours.

The two women had persuaded her daughter to work as a waitress at a restaurant in Songkhla’s Sadao district, which is a popular tourist spot.

When her daughter arrived there, she said she was forced to provide sexual service to clients. The girl said she managed to flee the brothel _ for which the restaurant was a front _ after being held there for five months.

After arresting the two women, a team of police from the Anti-Human Trafficking Division expanded its investigation and found at least 50 Lao girls had allegedly been victimised by the gang.

When the girls arrived in Sadao district, they were reportedly taken to a restaurant run by a Singaporean man and his Thai wife to earn their keep.

Another woman, identified as Yupin Chaipaew, allegedly worked with Ms Benjawan and Ms Pranom to procure girls for the brothel.

Police secured warrants for the arrest of the three women. Ms Yupin is still at large.

Ms Benjawan and Ms Pranom denied any involvement in human trafficking, but police believe they have obtained evidence to implicate them and other suspects in the gang. “The gang works systematically to lure women and girls, into the sex trade. They particularly target Lao women. It is human trafficking and it goes against the law and against humanity,” said Pol Col Prasert Pattanadee, deputy commander of the division.

Members of the gang normally looked for victims in remote villages. They try to get close to the families of their targets to gain their trust, Pol Col Prasert said.

The gang would offer to find well-paying jobs at a restaurant for the girls and would then pay a cash advance to the families before taking away their daughters.

If the victims were Thais, the gang would normally take them to Bangkok first to join other girls before a vehicle took them to Sadao.

If the victims were Lao, they would be sent to a halfway house in Nong Khai province before being transported to the same destination in Sadao. Some of the Lao girls who fell prey to the gang had entered the country legally, Pol Col Prasert said.

Most of the Lao victims are aged between 14 and 18 years old.

“The underaged girls are forced to provide sex to male customers for a salary of 2,500 baht a night. Some of them were lucky enough to escape, but others ended up being sex slaves for a long time,” said the deputy chief of the Anti-Human Trafficking Division.

His agency is gathering additional evidence to arrest others members of the human trafficking network.

He has also received many complaints about brothels with Lao workers in Nong Khai, Udon Thani, Khon Kaen, Nakhon Pathom and Samut Sakhon.

Pol Col Prasert warned families to be wary of anyone who tried to persuade their daughters to work with them.