On our way to an early morning start we were totally enchanted by the Laotian ritual of distributing daily alms to the monks. They stood silently and patiently in line many as young as ten. It is special and prestigious to be a monk and though not necessarily a commitment for life, a symbol of learning and humility. The Lao perceive life so differently and that perspective filled me with gratitude for the incredible experiences I encounter every day. We distributed over ten baskets of bananas, biscuits, cake and bread for only thirty dollars. Amazing!!
Many residents volunteer to get up as early as 4am to prepare food for the monks, who walk the main street of the old town by six.
There are thirty two temples in Luang Prabang devoted to the Buddha who is depicted in one of four poses that symbolize meditation, enlightenment, peace and seeking rain. The temples are a symphony of green, gold and red mirror mosaics. Sinuous dragons guard the entrances and the roofs glitter high above with fanciful decorations. Oh the splendor of it all!! No wonder it is a Unesco heritage site.
Lunch today was at a tranquil cafe high above the river. The delicious meal at ‘Couleur’ featured dried Mekong seaweed and fresh fish wrapped in banana leaf, Laap Kai, a chicken salad, lemongrass vegetable curry in coconut sauce and a fish casserole with eggplants and local herbs. Mmmm! Mmmm! Mmmm!
At this rate I am going to lose all the hard won benefits of the last two years 😣. So after a visit to the royal palace I labored 320 steps to the top of the hill for a visit to another temple. But of course it really was to avoid any guilt before dinner tonight 😉.
The view over the river, valley and mountains was magnificent.
The day ended with a special ceremony to chase out the 32 evils residing in us. The priest tied blessed white strings around both wrists that may be removed after 3 days. Local schoolgirls performed a series of dances and we dined at a french restaurant called L’elephant. The less said about that the better!
Each day awaits me with new adventures that I cannot wait to share with you. So, adios till next time!