I had just arrived in the capital city of Laos, Vientiane. It’s always a challenge getting your bearings in a new country. For me it’s hard to connect with people or where they meet when I don’t know the lay of the land.
Laos is one of the least populated countries in Southeast Asia and it’s capital Vientiane, hardly a minuscule census of over 750,000, is still small compared with other major capitals in this part of the world. But where was everyone?
After I checked into my hotel I wandered around the streets about an hour or so before sunset and with the exception of a few vendors and people in the service industry I could not see any significant cluster or group of people, anywhere! Where were the locals I could use to document real everyday life in Asia?
Finally after asking someone in what direction was the Mekong River and another few blocks of walking I was in the mix of a very interesting gathering. Groups of aerobics classes stationed on different sections of the promenade of the Mekong, aerobic trainers blasting out instructions to the beat of international dance music. Women in neon clothing moving in unison underneath the flags of Laos and the sickle and hammer symbol of a socialist government. A guy trying to paraglide off the steps into a dry season Mekong. Couples, families with toddlers, kids still dressed in their crisp school uniforms with matching red scarves.
Each component of this gathering seemed familiar and ordinary, but when all of these lives came together and met against the backdrop of a legendary river it became interesting, different and new. The very scenes that drive me to seek out more places, culture and people.
I hope you appreciate this short video of everyday life from this part of Southeast Asia. I hope to share many more images, stories and video from Laos in the next few weeks.
I am a broadcaster, photographer, writer and videographer with a passion for travel throughout Asia. I love making connections and engaging with people. I am spiritual and seek adventure wherever I go.
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