I have arrived in Laos and have the privilege of being hosted by Mr. Khamla Insounanh on an environmental sustainability reciprocal exchange. Khamla was hosted by the City of Mission Hills, KS on a professional development fellowship in April 2018.
My first stop is Vientiane, which pronounced in Lao “Viang-Cun” (by my best approximation), and is the modern capitol of the country. The architecture and city layout highlights the complex historical influences and rapid pace of development in Lao PDR. Siamese temples, corrugated roofs, French streets names, quickly buzzing motorcycles, billboards advertising Korean beauty products, and any ethnicity of food you can imagine are present.
Visiting Vientiane allowed me to better understand the political relationship between the United States and Laos. The past conflicts are addressed at the COPE Laos Center, while access to education for future leaders and students is fostered by the American Embassy’s Center at That Dam.
I traveled to Luang Parbang by a small plane and was meet by Khamla. Luang Prabang was the royal capitol and is situated at the confluence of the Mekong and Nam Khan rivers. We lunched and chatted about the political and geographic advantages for moving the Capitol to Vientiane in 1975.