Tag Archives: Vientiane

Red Carpet Moment –Oh Okay, Almost.

Ahh, National Culture Hall!

The Culture Hall fascinates me more than anything in Vientiane. Perhaps, it’s because I love the stage and anything related to stage production that being inside the halls gives me an all-tingly feeling. It also brings back fond memories of my few “theatre and production” days, the amazing plays I’ve seen, and my first visit in the Culture Hall way back 2009 as secondary photographer for World Food Day.

And because I live right across, or okay, a little farther from the Culture Hall, I’ve seen events unfold, as workers transform the grounds into something big and creative. When I saw the gigantic golden Dokchampa trophy being put up for the second Lao Music Awards….goosebumps!!

The Award

Roughly 3 years ago (OMG it was three years ago!), when I was an intern at Vientiane Times, the first Lao Music Awards  (LMA) was launched. While I was reading it in the entertainment section of the paper, I found it interesting that they were holding this event because it’s a sign that the entertainment industry in Laos is flourishing.  For some reason, Thai dramas and music are more popular in the country, so I bet this event does not only recognize local singers, songwriters and producers but it also proves that Laos has something to offer.

LMA is a national event under the Ministry of Information and Culture and organized by Sengdara Communications (oh yes, people, Sengdara the Gym is bigger than it seems!). During the first LMA, there were only a few artists nominated. The Lao recording industry has undergone a two-year “gestation” period wherein the number of artists, producers and record labels rose. In 2010, with more than 70 artists, and over 10 recording companies, LMA2 was created.

The Night

As soon as Pocklan and I found our seats, the opening number came to life. It was Alexandra’s, one of Laos’ celebrities, performance of a Lao Traditional song “Champa Muang Lao” with a little remix because suddenly hiphop dancers emerged. The perfomance ended with Alexandra’s violin-playing prowess. Even from afar she looked gorgeous and her Lao skirt was just divine, but the chunky red shoes? It’s a statement, I guess.

The master of ceremonies came on stage and started introducing the program, sponsors, speakers and all that jazz. Performances from participating artists were equally entertaining. Awards were given, uproars and cheers from fans and fellow artists…it was a good night! Only that I had some comments here and there, it’s kind of automatic for me. Three points to improve: 1) Synchronize choreography; 2) Transitions (avoid dead-air); and 3) Blocking.

We left before the ceremonies ended and took some shots of the red carpet! Here are some shots I managed to take, okay, they are a bit far. But still!

Looking forward to next year, that is if I’m still around. Oh well. 🙂

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Filed under Events, Walk and Talk, When In Laos

Phởtographic Memory

Please giggle. I spent all afternoon (yesterday) coming up with THAT title! Okay, that’s pathetic LOL

I’ve been meaning to blog about Phở but I just never had that *click* in my head until the feature story for the magazine was conceived. Since I don’t want to interrupt random people during their me-time-lunch-hours, or okay, I’m too shy to ask if I can interrupt them and take a picture plus I know some of them will think it’s invading their privacy although now that I think about it, it’s the best way to introduce the magazine—-I pulled my colleagues out of the office to “model” for the story.  And that, I think, phở tastes even better when you’re with family/friends/colleagues! Here’s how our hour went…

And oh, lunch was my treat!! Special thanks to Ai Tan, Euai Thip, Bou, Dona and Tou! Now we all know what Phở Gold is!

Phở Zap (phở – noodle, zap – alternate spelling of a Lao word meaning good/delicious), located at Khun Bu Lom Rd, Vientiane Capital. beside Chaleunxay Hotel, which is at the back of ANZ Commercial Bank Building.

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Climbing In Platforms

Tell me about it.

21 Months of Vientiane, what can I say, I love it here. Ideally, almost two years in a different country, someone should have 1) Come up with a decent sentence in the local language –I can’t; 2) Had a “gik” –find out what that means, if you can LOL; and 3) Exhausted all the possible city tours like visiting temples and famous landmarks, like going up Patuxay Monument and breathe-in the the beauty of Lane Xang Avenue –I haven’t, until today.

Patuxay, which roughly translates to Victory Gate, was built after the second World War in commemoration of the soldiers who died for their country, and the mark of independence from France. It resembles the Arc de Triomphe and it’s one of the most popular landmarks in Vientiane. Thousands of tourist come in this place and be all touristy in taking photographs.

I’ve been procastinating being all touristy because of my stubborn belief that I would only go up the monument during nighttime, so I can capture the lights of vehicles swooshing against a slow shutter. Unfortunately, the gate opens at 8AM and closes at 4:30PM, which doesn’t really give me much of an edge in capturing a non-mainstream delight. But then again, as instructed at work, I must take a picture of the city. So I did. After a year.

Today, my colleagues were on their usual business out of the office, I tagged along and asked for a sidetrip up the monument. They were a little iffy about going with me. Of course, I understood the iffy-ness, given the fact that summer is approaching (friggin’ thanks to Climate Change) and Vientiane Summer is just hot.and.humid. I couldn’t even begin to describe –even the ACs are giving up! But anyway, I still pulled one of my colleagues to accompany me. Entrance fee is 3,000 KIP,  which is really cheap for an interesting surprise. Climbing starts: the narrow staircases are made of cement; the path is a little dark, dusty and the place is really hot. Students, kids at that, are running up and down with you, I must say.

The stairs seem to go on forever but once you reach the third floor, it’s a shopping area! With all the Lao silk, metalcraft, jewelry and T-shirts! You go up and up again and if you feel like you’re going to pass out, just go on until you see the light –literally.  Take in the view of Lane Xang Avenue, the light traffic and several ministries and NGOs. You go around the area and there you will see the newly-constructed Prime Minister’s Office and Patuxay Park with the pretty fountain. But the climb doesn’t stop there. You see, the peak is that little space (see below) which is only like 3 x 3 meters (or less!). For the claustrophobics, I dare you 😛

And so, it took me almost two years to do a 10-minute shoot. I decided to do it today, when it’s a little over 25 degrees Celsius; not during the time when Vientiane breeze was cool and calm and friendly.  I chose today when I was wearing a tight black shirt, a Lao skirt and 3-inch-platforms, on a school day, at 3PM, with kids who just got out from school. Lesson learned: Never Procrastinate.

But what the hey, view’s good! 🙂


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Filed under Walk and Talk, When In Laos