Wrong Side Of Heaven

Great social clip by Five Finger Death Punch dedicated to the US veterans.

One of the best I’ve ever watched.

I heard from God today and she sounded just like me
What have I done and who have I become
I saw the devil today and he looked a lot like me
I looked away, I turned away.

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Prayer of the Refugee

I have always loved rock music for its ability to convey meaning in the most direct manner.

“Prayer of the Refugee” is a song about empathy.

Author: Rise Against

We are the angry and the desperate
The hungry, and the cold
We’re the ones who kept quiet
And always did what we were told
But we’ve been sweating while you slept so calm
In the safety of your home
We’ve been pulling out the nails that hold up
Everything you’ve known

Laos: Luang Prabang

My final destination in Laos was Luang Prabang in the northern part of the country. The name of the town means “Royal Buddha Image.” This is because of many Buddhist temples and monasteries around.

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Very calm little side street.

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Local fruit market.

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And local spicy noodle soup.

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The Royal Palace.

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Another little street leading to the Mekong river.

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Accidentally stumbled upon at the UNESCO heritage zone (Heuanchanh Heritage House).

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Inside one can sit or lie down for a drink.

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Tried butterfly pea flower tea for the first time.

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Primary school: the age of eternity.

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The Nam Khan river which flows into the Mekong river.

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A bamboo pedestrian bridge across.

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Alms giving ceremony in the morning. This is an ancient Buddhist tradition. Unfortunately, there are TOO many tourists observing.

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The view of the town from above Mount Phousi.

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Wats get even more charming at night.

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About 30 km away from Luang Prabang is a natural gem – the Kuang Si Falls with three levels.

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The colour of the water is mesmerizing.

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For the brave ones there is natural food.

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At the origins of the Kuang Si Falls: life is an act of delicate balancing.

Laos: Vang Vieng

Vang Vieng is a small touristic town in Central Laos. It is located at the Nam Song river, and is a major attraction for nature-lovers and adventure-seekers.

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Cruising through picturesque hills on the way to Vang Vieng.

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First glimpse of the Nam Song river.

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View in broad daylight: the river is very shallow.

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Fascinating Maylyn guest house.

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Exploring the neighborhood.

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Life in colours.

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Kayeng Nyui waterfall is away from trodden tourist paths. One can get there by riding a motorbike through the forest, along a deep mountain river valley, and across a local village.

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The waterfall.

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Very cute garbage bin in the area.

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The Elephant Cave: a stone inside resembles an elephant.

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A snake is guarding the Cave …

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while Buddha is chilling out :).

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Walking across the abyss. Literally.

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Z-plan is very popular here. Brings out lots of adrenaline!

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Lao food is simple and very tasty.

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Some more tourists in the guest house 🙂

 

 

Laos: Vientiane

Since a few years I have maintained a tradition to meet New Year in a different country. This is why I flew in Laos on the 31st of December, 2017.

Welcome to Vientiane, the capital of Lao People’s Democratic Republic.

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Vientiane is incredibly quiet and relaxing for a capital – even on the 1st of January.

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A morning walk starts with nice temple garden.

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The city abounds with serene Buddhist temples (wats). On the photo: Wat Inpeng – a very colourful temple with beautiful murals.

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The inside of the temple’s door.

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Next to the main building of the temple there are smaller sights.

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Including a little horse.

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Local transport – “Eye of the Tiger.”

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Xieng Nyeun Temple – one of the most important Buddhist monasteries.

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Laos used to be a French colony. The Patuxay war memorial is reminiscent of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.

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View from above the Monunent onto the capital’s main avenue – Lane Xang.

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The former French presence can be still traced in the street names.

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Government’s Office.

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Pha That Luang – a large a gold-covered Buddhist stupa.

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Tradition and modernity: Buddha and 4G internet.

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Buddha’s feet.

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Lively atmosphere at the Mekong riverside at night.

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Time for local delights.

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People chilling out at the riverside. Mekong is central to the livelihoods of many Southeast Asian countries.

 

Siem Reap – a Cambodian Disneyland?

Spending my time at Phnom Penh’s riverside, I met a Frenchman who had just come back from Siem Reap, the town where the iconic Angkor Wat is. He told me the place is a “Disneyland for tourists.”

After visiting it myself, I think he was pretty much right. Nonetheless, I enjoyed it. It is still possible to find space – physical and mental – for yourself in this mega-popular destination.

Among the tons of moments I select some of the most meaningful (for me) for this post.

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No advertisement, but here I did feel great. On a side note, there’s no place like home :).

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“Brevity is the sister of talent.” (c) Anton Chekhov.

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The Green Home is an ecology friendly sustainable place with its own water supply, recycling system, and home-grown food. That bungalow brought me nice conversations with the person who engineered all this. And the owner was smart to tap into post-materialist values of tourists.

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A great spot to lie and contemplate about the unbearable lightness of being.

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… Or stroll and do the same.

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An early bird catches the worm. Exploring temples is best in the first morning hours.

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Hidden in the trees.

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Twins.

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All alone stood it and the moss hung down from the branches,

Without any companion it stood there uttering joyous leaves of dark green,

And its look, rude, unbending, lusty, made me think of myself. (c) Walt Whitman

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Anaconda turned into a tree root. 

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The Guardian is watching you from the depth of Time.

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Goodbye, the year of the Rooster!

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Good morning, the day of the Butterfly.

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I would remove the garbage bin as the last sign of the “modern man.”

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“The shadow of your smile … when all are gone.” (c) Adapted from Frank Sinatra.

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Transformation.

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After climbing uphill for half an hour in melting heat nothing tastes better that a natural fresh Jacuzzi.

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Man, why you’re looking at me?

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Better watch this.

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Life isn’t that bad after all.