If you do a little exploring on foot, Vientiane is full of intriguing surprises. For example, wandering down a side street one day, I noticed women working on looms in the garden of a colonial villa. Stopping by, I admired the beautiful handwoven silks on sale and soon fell into conversation with the delightful Carol Cassidy, a native of Woodbury, Connecticut, who has passions for silk, hand-weaving and helping needy Laotian women to earn a living. Though Cassidy was much too modest to have mentioned it, I subsequently discovered that fabrics made by her company, Lao Textiles, feature in the décors of renowned interior designers such as Peter Marino, who styles many of the Chanel, Louis Vuitton and Armani boutiques.
For more on Vientiane and Laos, please visit the October 2012 Hideaway Report.