Boujour from Luang Prabang~

Trip Start Jan 15, 2010
Trip End Feb 15, 2010

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Flag of Lao Peoples Dem Rep  ,
Monday, February 1, 2010

I feel like I'm in a small french village lost somewhere in the mountains of France, but I am here in Luang Prabang, a beautiful historical city in the northern part of Laos. There is a large french influence, and a lot of french tourists smoking their cigarettes freely in every cafe in this town. I am definitely the minority here , which actually makes me feel pretty special so I don't really mind.
This town has been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995, and there is alot of beautiful Historical buildings and temples all around this walkable town, I had the best time just wandering the streets, cutting up small alleys finding the most charming guest houses and cafes. Just as in France, there is great coffee, and delicious cakes and desserts...Yum.
My guest house is a little out of town, I have a bungalow on the river, with a deck, where in the morning they bring me the breakfast of my choice to my bungalow at my desired time that I write on the chalkboard by my room and name. Hows that for room service!
At night there is a wonderful Handcraft Market in the center of town in which locals bring their handmade crafts such as silk scarves and handmade paintings for sale. My backpack can only handle a few scarves, so I picked up a few for such a great price I couldn't even bring my self to bargain down.
One of the mornings I got up VERY early, okay not that ridiculous but I am on vacation, and the only time I get up that early is to catch the next bus or train...but I headed out at 6 am to watch the morning ritual of the Monks taking Alms..they do this every morning between 630-7 am, in which the local Lao community sit on mats outside the temples offering mainly sticky rice and food to the monks who line up in a long precession accepting these gifts to nourish them for the day. I am told that they do not eat past noon, so the morning is when the food is given. I know that monks are very respected and honored in most of Asia. This was a beautiful ritual to watch, and I was very considerate to take pictures from across the street and out of the way, unlike some tourists running up to them as they accepted their offerings instead of being humble in being even allowed to watch in their way of life.
I had a little spiritual experience of my own today in visiting one of the temples of Luang Prabang that is high above the city on a mountain giving some amazing views of the valley down below rewarding you as you climb a few hundred steps getting to the top. On my way up, there was some local Lao women selling little baby birds in these little straw cages, that you set free on the top of the hill at the temple , releasing them and your wishes as you open the cages to let them fly away. I'm not sure if I was more heartened by the thought of buying them just so they could be set free from that tiny little cage they were in, or having my wish come true. It felt great none the less to let them out at the top of that hill, they seemed really happy as well.
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Nance on

Wow! This is what I'm talking about~ Laos looks way cool. Huge French influence history, baby! Angelina Jolie'in it for sure. Sounds fabulous. Take pictures at the shops if they don't mind. Show us some of the local artisan items that won't fit in your backpack;) I'm loving this tour - feel like I'm right there with you. Can't wait to chat with you when you get home. I want huge details about the food and everything. You look like you're having a great time. Relax an enjoy....making memories big time!

Be safe and adventurous at the same time -- love ya, Nance

elizacass on

Thanks Nance! Yes, you could definitely practice some of your french here. Lots of Espresso and cafes with seats overlooking the sidewalk to pass the day by..:) and lots of walking, Im working off my chocolate crepes..Thanks again for following along!

Marina on

Having seen the monks in Thailand, I loved the fotos in their saffron robes. Every time I think I have seen your most amazing fotos, more arrive!!!! The coffee shops remind me of the one in Hoi An.Guess the third class bus ride now has first place in the trip from !!@@?? category. Loved your acronym for VIP. ha ha. I'll have to do some reading on French colonialism to understand Laotian history. I had not been to see the babies since I started IPSB. When I finally went yesterday and held a two-month old I massaged all the itty-bitty muscles. A sweet experience.xoxoxo

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