|Having been watted out the previous day, we decided to see something completely different today. It's not often you get a chance to see a sculpture park like none other in the world. I haven't been all over the world but I still find it hard to believe that this could exist someplace else.
Already I've fooled you. An earlier version of this mystical array of concrete sculptures exists in Laos, just outside Vientiane. But after the end of the Vietnam war and the exodus of Laotians not fond of the communists, a certain sculpture by the name of Luang Pu Boun Leur Saurirat fled Laos and took up refuge just outside of Nong Khai. And this was born the Sala Kaew Ku Sculpture Park.
On the representation map we had, the park looked to be within walking distance from town. This was one of the few times I was glad we took a tuk tuk. It would have been a long walk. And the park would have been worth it if we had to walk twice the distance.
The sculptures were small, medium, big and gigantic.
There were mythological creatures and fantastical representations of Buddhists doctrines. And this just wasn't one or two concrete sculptures and then call it a day. He had some figures that were a hundred feet high or more. And the entire sculpture was detailed from toe to crown. Nothing monolithic here.
The sculpture of the towering snake was unworldly, pun intended. The tongues of the snake dangled ten, twenty feet out of the jaws.
At mid body, sat a buddha in the folds of the snake that stretched to the ground and curled.
There were many smaller figures throughout the grounds including a garden with a multitude of representations of the stages of one's life.
Having seen the park I felt like I had done a good day of site seeing. Wats are everywhere, caves and rivers are everywhere, shopping is everywhere but where are you going to see something like this.
I spent part of the afternoon wandering around Nong Khai. There were more wats than I wanted so I returned to our guesthouse and hung out on the deck overlooking the Mekong River.
There was a fair amount of traffic going back and forth across the river. Just a couple hundred meters away was the main freight pier for Nong Khai. A steady stream of boxes and bundles was slid down the hill and packed away inside of boats. When water lapped at the rails it set off across stream and docked on the Laos side. On that side a steady stream of porters would put the boxes and bundles on their their heads and trudge up the hill to be deposited in know not what.
It was interesting that this wasn't done under the watchful eye of duty police. Don't know about the Laos side but there seemed to be a surfeit of authorities on the Thai side. And if this was Canada and the United States you can rest assured that the Americans would be taking note of everything and everyone that moved close to the border.
I watched small boats with one person inside, flit from one country to another.
The Americans would have drones out checking every aspect of that boat and its cargo. No way was an load of lemon grass getting into their country. But I digress again.
And in the evening we got to watch the sun set on the Mekong River. Would have helped to be a few months later when the point of setting was further north, but I'll take what I can get while we're here in this part of the world.