These are some of the 2,300 Buddha sculptures at Wat Si Saket in Vientiane, Laos. Vientiane is a wonderful laid back city on the Mekong river. There is a strong French influence here. Laos was a French colony until 1953, except for during WWII when it was occupied by the Japanese. Our first night here we ate a French restaurant: steak (!!!) and eggplant with goat cheese and fancy red wine. Many people in Vientiane speak French and dozens of French expats have opened cafes and boutiques all over town. The city's name used to be "Wieng Chan" which means Sandalwood City, however through French transliteration it became Vientiane. When I (zoe) was here 8 years ago the city looked completely different. It was quieter, dustier and felt kind of empty. Since then it has developed so much and is a booming tourist destination. The New York Times choose Laos as the number one place to visit in 2008.

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