Vientiane Expo

Before I moved to Laos, I have to admit that I didn't give a great deal of thought to its industry or national output. I won't be too hard on myself on this count as I was more preoccupied with schools and housing and the procurement of Straight Things.

But if I'd thought about it, I would probably have said that Laos produces... rice (that's an easy one), silver (based on a trip years ago to Luang Prabang) and the omnipresent Beer Lao.

The good thing about not really knowing much about something is that you can be pleasantly surprised to find out. This weekend, we visited the Vientiane Expo, timed to coincide with the 40th Laos national day. And I discovered everything that Laos produces, all under one roof.

An easy one - Beer Lao!

An easy one - Beer Lao!

Tea and coffee - did you know that Laos produces world class Arabica coffee?

Tea and coffee - did you know that Laos produces world class Arabica coffee?

Rice and sticky rice

Rice and sticky rice

Wooden carvings

Wooden carvings

Jewellery, cutlery and other trinkets made from recycled UXO (unexploded ordinance), basically the millions of shell casings littering the Lao border forests from the Vietnam War.

Jewellery, cutlery and other trinkets made from recycled UXO (unexploded ordinance), basically the millions of shell casings littering the Lao border forests from the Vietnam War.

Unrefined silver

Unrefined silver

Rattan hats and baskets

Rattan hats and baskets

Rattan dyed and embroided bags

Rattan dyed and embroided bags

Herbal medicines

Herbal medicines

Oils and ointments for traditional medicines

Oils and ointments for traditional medicines

Steel. There were also bags of cement but do they need a photo?

Steel. There were also bags of cement but do they need a photo?

Sinhs and silk scarfs

Sinhs and silk scarfs

Sinh tiin seo (embroidered hems), woven and stitched by hand

Sinh tiin seo (embroidered hems), woven and stitched by hand

Colourful silk bed linen

Colourful silk bed linen

Cotton and linen bags

Cotton and linen bags

And last but not least - Lao wine. We'll save that for a post all of it's own.

And last but not least - Lao wine. We'll save that for a post all of it's own.

The Vientiane Expo is on the 7th floor of the new ITEC building. It runs until the 7 December 2015.