300 Meters - Comic #5 - 14 September 2016
The signs were misleading...
We spent a lovely weekend in the Laotian capital, Vientiane. All I wanted out of the weekend was a bit of sightseeing and a cup of that world-famous Lao Coffee.
After visiting Patuxai, the Laotian Arc de Triomphe, it seemed just a short walk down Lang Xang Avenue to the Pha That Luang Pagoda, the most important Buddhist holy site in Vientiane. After all, the signs said it was only 300 meters. Even though it was hot and humid, we could walk 300 meters, right?
After over half an hour of walking, That Luang still looked as far away in the distance as it had before we started. It certainly wasn't 300 meters... maybe 3 Km.
We should have taken a tuk tuk. After we finally arrived, we were almost too exhausted to fully enjoy it. At least I finally got my coffee.
Patuxai, the "Gate of Victory" was built to commemorate independence from France. It's right in the center of Vientiane, and one of the main sites to see in the city. Nicknamed the "vertical runway", it was built using thousands of tons of concrete donated by the USA for the construction of a new airport in the 1950's. After the fall of the Kingdom of Laos in 1975, it was renamed by the Communist Party of the new People's Republic of Laos to commemorate their own victory.
Pha That Luang is an impressive gold-covered stupa, and is located definitely more than 300 meters down the road from Patuxai. It is the national symbol of Laos, and its history dates back to the 3rd century.