After a botched visa extension at the immigration office by the HR department at my university, I was forced to leave Thailand to renew my visa. Since this took place during the teaching semester I didn’t have the luxury of making this visa run an extended vacation. As I was under the gun to be away from the classroom for as little time as possible, I set out on the quick trip to Vientiane, Laos.
I’ve been to Laos’s capital city a handful of times; and each time I go hoping I will find something new that warms me up to the city. Arriving early on a Friday morning and submitting my passport, I planned to have about 2 1/2 days of exploration before I had to be back at the consular office to pick up my passport and head back to Bangkok.
My first thought after my passport was safely in the hands of the immigration office was to head to the Beer Lao factory for a tour. Unfortunately after calling, I found out they were closed for renovation and tours wouldn’t reopen for a month. Determined to explore, I grabbed my camera hit the town.
Strolling the streets looking for something tasty to eat, I rounded a corner and saw a herd of people piling into a dark shop with a yellow awning. The first rule of thumb I’ve learned about eating in a foreign country is to follow the locals. Stomach growling and curiosity peaked, I followed the crowd, entered the small shop and had one of the best bowls of noodle soup of my life!
Satisfied with a belly full of noodles, I proceeded to have a full day of temple spotting and monument climbing in the tropical heat. On my walk home along the riverfront with a cold Beer Lao, I was thinking about the fun activities I’d just done and which one would be perfect for a PowerKicK photo. I had my eye on Phra That Luang, also known as the Temple of the Mind, as the perfect location. After careful consideration I decided I wouldn’t ride out of the city the next day, but rather stroll back over to the temple and try to get a PowerKicK photo.
The walk over was again hot, and when I arrived I immediately went searching for shade to cool down. As I got my camera out I bumped into a group that was staying at the same hostel. We chatted for a bit before I politely asked for their assistance in helping me snap my PowerKicK photo. They were more than happy to help out and off we went to find the ideal spot.
The temple is in the shape of a square and after 1 lap around on the manicured grass we found the side best lit by the sun and set up shop. With a tall center spire, an upward angle was necessary to get both the entire temple and myself into the photo. My hostel mates were new to the PoweKicK Revolution, so a brief rundown was in order prior to our photo shoot.
A combination of the camera on single shot mode and a photographer with an itchy trigger finger made the initial shots less than stellar. Looking over the first four shots, they were each of me in an upswing completely missing the actual PowerKicK. To cure this I moved the camera to sport mode (rapid fire), advised them to line up the shot, hold down shutter button and let the camera work its magic. A 3-2-1 countdown, a giant leap in the air, and Ansel Adams-esque framing was all my rookie photographer needed to nicely capture November’s PowerKicK of the Month, the PowerKicK of the Mind!