National Geographic : 1960 Jan
Little Laos, Next Door to Red China At the hill base, behind a double row of fuzzy sugar palms, stands the long, low royal pal ace, looking like a pleasant country home. The royal town is much smaller than Vien tiane, but it boasts movies, a social club, and a number of thick-walled cool old French homes now occupied by Lao officials. Temples are scattered everywhere. The long main street is lined with the usual little Indian and Chinese shops displaying groceries, dry goods, tinware from Japan, baskets, and other miscellany. Here, too, are goldworkers who supply the ladies of the aristocracy with the beautiful pins and pendant chains that dress the Lao coiffure, and the solid-gold belts of many medallions. Whenever visitors arrive, groups of village women swarm the porch of the Phousi Hotel to display their Lao- or Lu- designed scarves or skirt lengths of fine silk. One can climb the Phousi for the view or settle for the Buddha's Footprint, which the Enlightened One-he must have been tall as the hills-implanted above the town. Or one can visit Wat Pa Khe, which be sides having wonderful gold and black wooden window panels, boasts the famous "Dutch" doors. These are decorated with gilt figures wearing Dutch hats and clothing; they com memorate the visit of a group of Hollanders in the mid-17th century. New Year's celebrations go on for about 10 days, though only three are considered impor tant. Religious processions move from the temples around the town, the older priests borne on palanquins draped with orange cloth. Musicians go ahead, playing small drums. The royal elephants, magnificently capari- Dr. Thomas Dooley Gives a Piano Recital for an Audience of Kha Before his recent return to the United States for medical care, 32-year-old Dr. Dooley treated as many as 100 patients a day in his Muong Sing hospital. He became interested in Indochinese medical problems in 1954, when as a Navy doctor he helped refugees flee from Communist North Viet Nam. Dooley-trained Lao operate two other clinics established by him. A talented musician, Dr. Dooley plays daily to relax. Hill folk wander in and out; woman at right wears the knee-length Kha skirt. KODACHROMEBY JOHN M. KESHISHIAN, M.D. © N.G.S.