It is said that along with coffee and baguettes, the Lao inherited a taste for pompous town planning from the French.

You can see the Lao version of the Arc de Triomphe at Vientiane’s Champs-Élysées – built a tad higher to snub the French.

Photographers with digital cameras and little photo-printers do a roaring trade there.

The present government pretends to be embarrassed over this imposing edifice, even calling it a “monster of concrete” as this sign attests:

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