Priscilla Kibbee

I love to travel all over the globe shopping for textiles to add to my wearable art. I have taught quilting to school children in Nepal, seminole patchwork to seamstresses in Thailand, and jackets and embellishment to quilters in Turkey where I also served as a judge at 2 of their International Quilt Shows. I have created garments for 5 Fairfield and Bernina Fashion Shows and teach classes on embellishment and wearable art. Lately I have been leaning more toward making art quilts.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Vientiane, Laos

We spent the better part of a day flying from Hanoi to Bangkok and dropping off around 100 pounds of souvenirs in two bags at the airport. We then flew to Udon Thani in Northeastern Thailand, took a shuttle to the Friendship Bridge joining Thailand and Laos and took a taxi to Vientiane after crossing the bridge. Unfortunately we found that the hotel we had tried to reserve was full. We spent part of the evening finding another which was more expensive and further from the center. The next morning it was off to the Morning Market for some serious shopping. Actually named Talat Sao it really is open all day. There are several booths selling Hmong items. They are usually family member runs the booth on a rotating basis and the others are busy sewing new stock. The quilts are all handmade without a single machine sewn stitch. There are almost three long aisles of handwoven silks and other textiles.

Nam Phu circle. The "heart" of Vientiane. While it is the capital of Laos it is actually a very small (around 200,000) laid back city with a lot less traffic than either Hanoi or Bangkok.
The Scandanavian Bakery is right on the circle and one of my favorite hangouts. The croissants in the morning are superb and the cakes......................... Oh my.

Traffic on the circle is not much of a bother. Mostly tuk tuks waiting for a fare.

An old telephone exchange in our hotel lobby. Our first sightseeing stop was the famous Pha That Luang. It's the most famous national monument in Laos and its name means World Precious Sacred Stupa. A beautiful building on the grounds.
The stupa was built in the 16th Century by King Settathirat.
Birds for sale. If you free them it is supposed to bring good luck.

King Setthathirat.

The stupa lies 4 km north of town and is the That Luang festival in November. I was lucky enough to be here for it two years ago. During part of the festival several thousand monks from around the country come to receive alms from thousands of Loatians. There are fireworks and processions and the event lasts several days.

Closer to town Wat Si Saket is Vientiane's oldest surviving temple. It contains over 300 seated and standing Buddhas and over 2000 in niches on the walls.

Monks quarters. Each niche has at least one Buddha.

The entrance.
Haw Pha Kaew. This temple was originally build to house the Emerald Buddha which is now in the Royal Palace in Bangkok.

This was a Jar from the Plain of Jars. This is a large plain in northern Laos where hundreds of these jars are spread around. They are probably 2000 years old and no one has figured out their purpose. A decaying home from the French era.

Statue in front of Wat Ong Teu Mahawihan.

The huge Cultural Center at night. Inside the Morning Market.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The Last Day in Hanoi

Many souvenir shops sell wine with cobras or other snakes in the bottles. It is supposed to make it more potent. I couldn't imagine traveling with such a thing in my suitcase or having it on my shelf.
The water puppets up close. These are particularly pretty with arms that clap on their sides.
And there is a parade of many of the puppets.

Aren't these electrical wires something else? This is a typical street in the Old Quarter. The entrance to a tiny temple in the French Quarter.

This is one of the gorgeous hand embroideries I saw in a restaurant. A meat shop. Apparently you just haul out your stock and set up in a closed doorway.
Another typical street in the Old Quarter.
In this section it was shops selling items for home altars.

Again, you just set down your shoulder baskets and set up shop.

Interesting fruits and vegetables being sold in the street.
The famous water puppets in Hanoi. They are based in a lovely small theater on the north edge of Hoan Kiem Lake. Musicians play traditional instruments before and during the performance.

The water puppeteers.

Ngoc Son Temple in Hoan Kiem Lake. A beautiful temple sitting in the middle of the lake and reached by a small causeway.

It was built in the 18th century and dedicated to Van Huong who defeated the Mongols in the 13th century andLa To, the patron saint of physicians.

There is a legend that giant tortoises inhabit the lake. This one died in 1968 and there is a photo of one sighted here in 2000.

View of the lake from the Temple on a rather gloomy afternoon.

Two men playing a traditional game in the Temple courtyard.
And, of course, some bonsai trees.

Plaques on the Temple entrance.

Tortoise tower at the Temple entrance.

The Martyr's Monument dedicated to those who fought and died for Vietnam's independence.

A typical room in my hotel. Cable TV and private bath and a wonderful breakfast. Some rooms had internet right in the room or it was free in the lobby. And it was $29 a night. (I was only $25 in October...prices are going up everywhere).