South East Asia diaries – Laos, Luang Prabang

I am officially back from another exciting adventure and I thought it would be nice to share some of my memories. My constant search for unusual gear didn’t stop… if anything my obsession got worse (much to the dismay of my poor boyfriend). There were the most fantastic markets that I have ever seen. They were an array of vibrant colours and hand made clothing, jewellery and textiles. Laos was one of my favorite places, both for the lifestyle and the shopping. We traveled into Laos by long boat from Thailand along the mighty Mekong river. These photo’s were taken in a place called Luang Prabang which was extremely beautiful. Within each region of South East Asia the local people specialise in slightly different creative techniques. In this region they seemed to concentrate on hand embroidery and beautiful hand made silver jewellery. There was a fantastic night market and all the shops that lined the street were also filled with similar sort of things. My boyfriend found the market frustrating because… well he has created some shopping rules; 1) He can only handle shopping when there are no other people around. 2) I am always on a strict time limit for each shop or stall. 3) I am not aloud to shop in sales with him. I think the years of shopping with me have gradually made him into a broken man. This market bought it’s own additions to the rules… He moaned constantly because he is quite tall, and Asian people are quite small, so their markets reflect this. Poor Steven hit his head all the way along the length of the whole market! So now we are only aloud to shop in places that cater for tall people! 

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All things bright and beautiful…

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While I was having a little mooch around Oxfam, I came across these little beauties. They are hand made fans from India. After doing a little research about these gorgeous accessories. I discovered that typically the fans made in India are either fixed or rotational. Meaning the fan could rotate in a full circle. This is quite different to the folding style made by the Chinese and Japanese, this being the style that we in the west are more familiar with. These particular one’s were fixed into place. I have learned that these charming pieces of textiles were made from many different textile techniques from embroidery to hand sewing and weaving. They also used lots of materials from bambo to leather and beads, to silk, grass, cayne, or feathers. Interestingly each province in India has claim to it’s own shape singular to itself. These ones that I found were woven with small silk flowers and beads hand stitched on.  If this is something that you are interested in you can go and find out more at The Fan Museum in Greenwhich. This amazing museum is exclusively dedicated to fans of all kind. I have sent the museum an email about them so hopefully I can find out some more information about these lovely creations.

Fans £2.99 each Oxfam

Please note that my research was done at http://www.thefanmuseum.org.uk/pankha.html