We followed the sluggish Mekong upriver to the Pak Ou caves today. The pregnant river moves in brown, silt filled waves from China that has dammed its bounty in two places and past Thailand and into Cambodia. Heavy rice barges and fast speedboats from Thailand anxious to finish their 8 hour journey to Luang Prabang zipped downriver. It was as if we had stepped back in time. Three elephants lumbered past us on the opposite bank.
A picnic lunch by the river conjured up visions of blankets and hampers. The reality was more of a daydream: A perfectly set table high above the river and its denizens, and a Laotian feast of fish, coconut and lemongrass flavored stews, fresh vegetables and fruit.
Our destination. the Pak Ou caves (stands for mouth (Pak) of the Ou River) carved out of the mountainside was a white fantasy. Climbing the steep stone steps hewed out of the cliff side we spilled into a sanctuary of four thousand Buddhas. Big and small, bronze, wood and metal, each one has been brought here as an offering by a pilgrim. From the devout worshiper to the camera toting tourist we all stood in awed silence high above the river and let the tranquility seep into us.
Silkworms and exquisite handmade paper was the perfect stop at a little village on the way back.
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Beginning and ending the day with a morning and night market captured the spirit of Luang Prabang and its gentle people.
Dinner was another mouthwatering Lao feast at ‘Tamarind’ featuring said spice in abundance and its specialty buffalo wafers.
Adios till next time!!!