Monday, April 25, 2011

Wats, River and Mountains... Oh My!!

The Mekong River
Florida Girl and Boy and the Mekong River
CK on top of Mt Phousi
View of Northern part of Luang Prabang and mountains from Mt Phousi

Where to start... Luang Prabang is everything I hoped it would be and more. I am still struggling with the right words to capture the unique feel of this unfamiliar world. Being further away from home than ever before with nothing to compare every new sight, smell , sound... I keep going on about the senses because I don't know how else to put it!
We found a great guest house near the northern tip of town just a few blocks from Wat Xieng Thong. Once again we set out to explore in the hottest part of the day! However, within a few minutes we were watching as Laotian people washed a special Buddha with water, flowers and perfume. The host at our guest house explained that the ritual which ends tonight is part of the new year celebration... sort of like washing away the past year to make way for the next. It was so touching to watch as people, young and old, said their prayers. I wonder what it must feel like to the people who live here to have us watching them go about their normal lives? We are doing our best to be apart of it all without being in the way!

After we left the Wat we headed down to the Mekong and more importantly to a little bit of shade! Once again... no complaints just observations about the weather... it is hot and humid like I have only felt a few times before and when it is not raining we want it to but once it starts we just want it to stop! Our shady spot by the river offered a chance to take the two first pictures. We eventually wondered to the main street just in time to see the local school letting out for the day... Just to put this in context: Everyone in LP rides a scooter. They ride with and without helmets, with and without shoes, occasionally they even ride with an umbrella for shade or protection from rain. However, you haven't lived until you have seen an entire family of five on a single scooter. With mom driving and little ones (smaller than Trey!) perched in the front and the rest of the gang hanging on in the rear with school bags, dinner, laundry and the rest nestled in between the passengers! It is a sight to behold and makes me admire the ability of these people to teach their children how to be still from such a young age!

We found a nice little cafe across from the school to continue our silent observations over a bowl of beef pho... a delicious soup with rice noddles, beef, fresh vegetables, cilantro and broth. After eating we headed to the top of Mt Phousi and snapped the last two pictures. The views were amazing but a bit hazy as they are currently burning the forests to make room for more farm land... I won't get started on this but I will say we are staying at the most ecologically friendly guesthouse in LP. While taking in the views and enjoying the temple, the wind started to blow and before we could make to the bottom of the 300+ steps it was pouring down rain! We made a dash for the guesthouse only to make it about half way before dodging the worst of the down pour in a cafe... I guess it isn't a really trip until you get rained on!

The guesthouse is closing up the lobby so I can't write much more but will try again tomorrow... We are heading on a trek through the jungle that ends in a waterfall! Until next time...

No comments: