A little R&R in Luang Prabang

Trip Start Jan 09, 2013
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49
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Trip End Jan 22, 2013


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Flag of Lao Peoples Dem Rep  , Luang Prabang,
Saturday, March 23, 2013

One of the main things Luang Prabang is known for is the Alms (food) Ceremony - at 6am, the monks (who are only allowed to eat breakfast and lunch) from the temples line up on a street to receive food offerings from the local people who kneel on the sidewalk with baskets of fruits, sticky rice and crackers/cookies. They do not eat for the entire day past noon. The alms offering is a generous gesture of the locals to show appreciation and respect towards the monks, providing them with nourishment for the day.
The Alms Ceremony was supposed to be, and I expected, a sacred and authentic ritual.

Instead, what it has now become is a tourist spectacle. The locals are not even offering the food anymore. Instead, they were selling tourists baskets of food. And as one group of tourists lined on the sidewalk to participate in the alms offerings, another group of paparazzi tourists hovered around the monks with their flashing cameras. Some of these tourists have no respect, pointing their cameras in the monks' faces! It was so disturbing to me, I refused to join this circus. I kept my distance and only took pictures from across the street.
After snapping a handful of pictures, I decided to put the camera down and be present in the moment, and tried to appreciate the purpose it was intended to serve - a spiritual interaction between the monks and local people. But I walked away disturbed at how tourism has destroyed this beautiful historical practice.

Today I woke up with aches all over my body. My body felt stiff and weak. Since I have no agenda here anyway, I decided to take a day to rest and rest I did! I went back to bed after the Alms Ceremony and woke up at 2pm, craving some American food, like a fat burger ;-).
I found an Australian restaurant that had a burger on the menu! Yes!
Even though it was astronomical for Lao standards ($7), I was sick and I wanted to spoil myself.
The burger was stacked up with homemade buns, sautéed onions and pineapple, bacon and sundries tomatoes. It came with a side of homemade French fries and oh man, it was SO good! I was in heaven for about 5 minutes until I devoured the burger!
After lunch I went back to the guesthouse and watched Revenge (ABC TV show) on my iPad the entire day. I hadn't had a day like this in a very long time and it felt good to rest.

Here are some pics of Luang Prabang I took yesterday walking around town. I also downloaded a few pics my friend took with his DSL camera on our boat journey.
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Comments

Shana on

Feel better! Any massage places there?

oshioshi
oshioshi on

Oh yes! I checked out Laos massage the first day here and it was awesome! Much better than Thai massage. Only $6/hr. I must get another one before I leave Laos!

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