This week has been marked not only the absence of warmth as Vientiane's temperatures plummeted but also - for me - by the absence of my beloved MacBook. I've been working off az's pc in the meantime and I'm not a fan of Windows so it's been frustrating to say the least. Why the simple process of editing and resizing photos has to be such a marathon involving one-at-a-time uploads, 2 different programs and an entire hour (as opposed to 5 minutes on Mac's Preview) is beyond me. Windows 10 is the best reason I've seen yet to switch to Mac.
Rant over. The point of today's post is not that a ridiculous amount of effort went into getting these images into this post but to welcome Vientiane's new supermarket, Rimping. This Thai import swept into town just before Xmas, turning the current minimarts on their heads and leaving expats swooning. Fresh blueberries! Prawns! A dazzling array of tofu! Australian rib eye steak!
Rimping is a bit out of town, past the convention centre, presumably in an area with cheaper rent. Still, it's a good half hour trek to get there and I have a headache from the traffic when I arrive. There's plenty of parking out the front - I've been on a Saturday in the late afternoon, and on a weekday early afternoon, and it's never been crowded. At other times, it may be a different story. On the weekends as well, they have lots of tastings, Aldi-style. Very popular with the kids.
Stepping inside, my headache soon dissipates. Between the soft lighting, classical music and visually charming displays, I'm soon transported to another world. The Thai innate sense of style has worked its magic here; Rimping is like one of Bangkok's upmarket minimarts you find in their massive department stores. It's a winning combination of cutesy and kitsch, polished and efficient, that appeals to local and foreigners alike.
And they've got a lot of cool stuff.
Though Rimping is heavy on imported goods, mainly from Thailand, there's a lot of Lao produce too. There's an aisle of packaged veggies which I assume are local, as well as dairy and an aisle (below) of dried fruit, tea, coffee, jams, honey and other local products.
Altogether, Rimping is clean, spacious, friendly and a nice place to visit. It's not cheap - in particular those coveted fresh blueberries, and other imported fruit and meat from Australia, but you don't expect it to be. And nor are the other minimarts around town. What Rimping does have is a lot more choice.
And nothing says Valentine's Day like a box of apples...
Unless it's a Rimping love seat outside...
Rimping supermarket is on Route 13 towards the airport. It's about 1km past the National Convention Center on the same side of the road. Go past the yellow and black checked taxi building and it's a further 400m on the left.