So, what is it that’s truly appealing about being in Vientiane, Laos? Does it go beyond the low RPM laid-backness of the place? Is it because people greet each other by saying, “Be at ease”? Is it the way this socialist regime has so wisely chosen to embrace Buddhism and the calming presence of many active temples, of monks going about in their saffron robes, open to chat in English? Could it be the wide availability of Beer Lao – old world quality at a 3rd world price? Is it the complete absence of pistol-packing military police so prevalent in neighboring Thailand? Could it be the lingering influence of colonial French architecture, of French cuisine? Or could it be the yummy local Duck Noodle Soup? How about being able to step back through a doorway in time, back to a time of less turbulence, of more simplicity? Is it, perhaps, a curious combination of all these elements? Yes, I’d have to say – I reckon it is.

‘Postcard’ from travelling photographer-writer Earl Cooper, based in Hawaii.