Wondered arround Vientianne checking out some Wats. First Wat Si Saket ... the supermarket of the Wat world, wall to wall shelves full of Buddhas of varying sizes. Monks pushing their shopping trolleys (ok ... that bit's a lie) shopping for handy portable 8cm buddha, for the monk about town ... the monk on the move. Or maybe the monster 3 metre tall buddha, for the monk who wants the best ... who needs to make a statement (who has to compensate for something ... eh!). Then there was Haw Pha Kaew, a museum come hospital, where you can see buddhas through the ages in various states of repair.
Not content, we moved on to Xieng Khan ... aka "Buddha Park" ... aka the Disneyland of the Buddha world, where monks come to unwind and let their hair down ... sort of! Full of interactive sculptures what you could climb over and walk through / round / in. At the top of one that looked like a big head with a tree coming out of the top we met a bunch of young monks, one of which told me how much he like Aston Villa football team ... which certainly made a change from Manchester United! Another showed us around including a reclining Buddha, who apparently was meditating ... though it looked suspiciously like he was having a kip to me. We chatted and he explained that he may not always be a monk because he would like to go shopping! Ah ... finally enlightenment dawns. He also had email ... a bit of a funky-monk. Visions of him back at the wat, chanting floating over the incense filled air, he tap-tapping away on the laptop ... ordering the latest orange robe from www.buddhas-r-us.com.