Starbucks Been There Vientiane mug

Been There – Vientiane

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Been There – Vientiane mug is dedicated to the opening of the first Starbucks store in Laos and the further expansion of the company in Southeast Asia. The store is designed in collaboration with local artists while honoring the heritage and beauty of Laotian art and folklore.
Vientiane is the capital of the country and its largest city. It is located right on the border with Thailand separated from it by the Mekong river.
Here are some symbols and points of attraction from the design of the mug:
– Patuxai (the arch next to the handle) is a war monument dedicated to those who fought in the war for independence from France (1949). It was built between 1957 and 1968 and literally translates as “the Victory Gate”.
– Buddha Park, a.k.a. Xieng Khuan (Spirit City) is a sculpture park containing over 200 Hindu and Buddhist statues. You can see it on the front of the mug.
– The Presidential Palace is the official residence of the President of Laos (can be seen below Buddha Park).
– Pha That Luang (further to the back of the mug) is a gold-covered large Buddhist stupa in the center of the city. It is considered the most important national monument in the country. I had to look up what a stupa is, which in fact is a hemispherical structure containing relics that is used as a place of meditation.
– The Chao Anouvong Statue is located in Chao Anouvong Park facing the Mekong river. Anouvong was King of Vientiane from 1805 to 1828 and led the Lao rebellion (1826–28) in an attempt to end the Siamese control of the Kingdom.
– The Second Thai–Lao Friendship Bridge over the Mekong as follows from the name, connects two countries together. It is a mile-long bridge with two traffic lanes. It is worth mentioning that in Thailand traffic drives on the left, while in Laos it drives on the right. So the bridge is where two types of traffic meet. The lane change (the switch) happens on the Thai side, right after you cross the bridge (if driving from Laos). Here’s an interesting detail I’ve noticed as well. The bridge connects Mukdahan Province in Thailand with Savannakhet in Laos, and that’s not where Vientiane is located. My assumption is that the designers picked the wrong bridge, as the one close to Vientiane is actually the First Thai–Lao Friendship Bridge. You can easily tell them apart as The First Bridge doesn’t have two pylons that The Second Bridge has. All in all, it seems that’s a mistake from the designers’ side and I am wondering if that will be fixed at some point (version two maybe)?

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