the first thing i noticed after we crossed the border was fences. there are very few in viet nam, mostly around government complexes. then i saw some elaborate, huge homes behind locked gates. this is definitely not a communist country. the people are abjectly poor, much more so than in viet nam, but some are fabulously wealthy. we got lucky again and were treated to a beautiful spectacle down the street from the hotel. every eight day, people come out en masse to make offerings and ask buddah to help them with whatever problem they have. there was music, much incense, lotus flowers, and the ritual releasing of birds after making an offering. not so nice for the birds, who can't see in the dark and tend to fly into things in their confusion. rooms are still cheap here, but food and everything else is more expensive, as they deal almost exclusively in dollars. hence, the coffee that was 30 cents in saigon is a dollar here. we had our first good sunset tonight. i got a couple of nice silhouette shots of the imperial palace.
our hotel is the OKAY hotel. it's OK.
another thing, instead of carrying baskets on a flexible bar across their shoulder as they do in viet nam, women here carry them on their heads. yes, almost always women.