Instant Souvenir / by John Javellana

Coming from Manila, I never expected that Laos could be a lot more backward than we are. People say that Vientiane shows hints of how Manila was some 30, even 50 years ago. No traffic.. Simple living.. Happy, kind and warm people on the streets.. Not even a building taller than 14 storeys in the whole country. It was really a laid-back atmosphere. Aside from the occasional Hummers and Mercedes Benz that come out of nowhere on dirt roads, everything seems to be a lot more behind.

But there was one slightly insignificant thing I noticed that they were able to overtake us with (well Beerlao came close) and it was the souvenir photographers at the Patouxay Monument at the center of the city. Something which I assumed is identical to the Rizal monument in Luneta Park here back home. The photographers had decent digital SLR cameras and hooked to it is a portable ixus printer along with a battery pack on their belts. How clever and cool is that??!

Our infamous Luneta photographers were the first thought that popped into my head as I saw these men that I found to be astue in terms of their business. They could really benefit from doing something like this back home. Tourists wouldn’t want anything more than an instant photo souvenir that’s printed right in front of them. Interesting.