Blogography Logo
spacer

   

Day Nine – Luang Prabang

Posted on October 15th, 2013

Dave!

UPDATE: I've arrived safely in Cambodia. Thanks for the kind emails and messages concerning the Lao Airlines plane crash that took place outside of Pakse... I was on a different Lao Airlines flight that connected through there. Internet has been dodgy ever since leaving Vietnam, so that's why I am behind in posting. So sad to hear about the 49 people who lost their lives in this tragedy.

Given the limited time we have in Laos, the schedule for the tour group was jam-packed today. We started out by heading to old town early in the morning to offer alms to the local monks. Every morning after prayers, the 250 or so monks in the area leave their temples and walk down the streets to receive their food for the day. As they walk past, people drop small clumps of sticky rice into their bowls. This is collected and shared for the two meals they get in the morning and afternoon.

I know it sounds easy, but offering rice is no easy task. First of all, they walk kinda fast. Second, it is disrespectful to look up at the monks, so you have to keep your head down. Third, you are not supposed to touch their bowls when depositing the rice... especially if you are a woman. And lastly, sticky rice is sticky, and it's hard to pull out the tiny portions required so you don't run out. Still, it's a humbling experience, and one I very much enjoyed...

Morning Alms to the Monks

Morning Alms to the Monks

Morning Alms to the Monks

Believe it or not, the monks don't even get to keep the small amount of rice they are given. If a poor person holds out a bowl along their path, the monks will give part of their rice back.

Above the city is a hill with a number of temples and Buddhas on it. After making our rice offerings to the monks, we climbed to the top so we could watch the sunrise...

Temple Climb

Temple Climb

Temple Climb

Temple Climb

Temple Climb

And, yes, it was pretty spectacular... despite the clouds obstructing the mountains...

Temple Climb Sunrise

Though I was more interested in the cats that were hanging around...

Temple Climb Kitty

The walk down was a lot easier...

Temple Climb

Temple Climb

At the bottom of the hill, there were people making beautiful little flower pots. I think they must be used as offerings like candles in churches, because you see them everywhere...

Temple Climb

Tree Offering

After our trek, we got to head back to our hotel for breakfast before heading out again. This time, out into the countryside to a rice farm so we could see and experience how this very important crop in Southeast Asia is cultivated...

Country Roads Cat

Living Land Rice Farm in Laos

Living Land Rice Farm in Laos

Living Land Rice Farm in Laos

Living Land Rice Farm in Laos

Living Land Rice Farm in Laos Rice Snacks

Then it was time for a picnic lunch next to beautiful Kuang Si Waterfall...

Waterfall

Waterfall

Then off to a bear rescue sanctuary...

Bear Rescue Trail

Bear Rescue Bears

And then to a school for deaf and disabled kids. This was a bit of an odd side-trip, as I didn't see how it fit into the "story" that Disney was telling here. Disney isn't sponsoring the school, so it's not like they were telling us "See what some of the profits from your trip are doing?... so I guess it was some kind of misguided attempt at guilt-trip humanitarianism, which is not so cool.

In any event, the visit was a real eye-opener. These kids are collected from the Luang Prabang area, as most of their parents don't know how to handle their disabilities or don't want to deal with them. At the school they are cared for and educated, and are welcome to stay until they find a job and can support themselves... they aren't kicked out once they reach a certain age, which was unexpected.

All of the kids were adorable, friendly, and extremely well-behaved. We got to spend a little time with them asking questions and such, which was fun...

School Kids

School Kids

Our local guides gave us an address where we can send stuff to them for the kids, which I was quite happy about. Yes, there are places like this around the world that are all in need of help, and the situation seems overwhelming, but knowing you can do something about it... even something small... is a good thing.

Once we returned to the hotel to get cleaned up, we hit the local night market, which is huge, colorful, and entertaining...

Night Market

Night Market

I ran out of room for souvenirs a long time ago, but even just looking was fun.

And then, after a tuk-tuk ride back "home," it was time for THE DISNEY PIN OF THE DAY...

D9 Disney Pin

Meh. I don't like Goofy at all, so this is not a favorite... but at least I have a keepsake from working at the rice farm earlier today.

Tags: , ,
Categories: Bullet Sunday 2013Click To It: Permalink  2 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Day Eight – Luang Prabang

Posted on October 14th, 2013

Dave!And so today we left Hanoi and Vietnam to fly to Luang Prabang in Laos.

Despite a haze off in the distance obstructing the mountains, the area is incredibly beautiful. The airport is pretty much an airstrip on the outskirts of town, and walking across the tarmac lets you soak in the scenery...

Luang Prabang Airport

Disney wasted no time in getting things rolling by leaving the airport and driving directly to the Luang Prabang National Museum, which was formerly the Royal Palce...

National Museum Luang Prabang

A new temple is being built to house the Golden Buddha of the Royal Palace. Since the Buddha is not there yet, photography was permitted inside...

National Museum Luang Prabang

National Museum Luang Prabang

National Museum Luang Prabang

Unfortunately, photos were forbidden in the palace itself...

Royal Palace Shoes!

Lunch was at the Coconut Garden, which was a fantastic restaurant with some beautiful decorations hanging around the courtyards (that made me regret that we weren't returning there for dinner to see it at night)...

Coconut Garden Restaurant Luan Prabang Laos

Coconut Garden Coke

Coconut Garden Restaurant Luan Prabang Laos

After a delicious lunch, we were off to visit a couple of temples. The first of which had me more than a little worried about an electrical fire starting...

Temple in Luang Prabang, Laos

Temple in Luang Prabang, Laos

Outside, some novice monks were making arts and crafts in spectacular colors...

Novice Monks at a Temple in Luang Prabang, Laos

Novice Monks at a Temple in Luang Prabang, Laos

Then we were off to yet another one... the Vatxiengthongratsavoravihanh Temple (say that three times fast!).

A Temple in Luang Prabang, Laos

The sun was setting behind a Buddha on one side...

A Temple in Luang Prabang, Laos

While shining on an incredible golden building on the other side...

A Temple in Luang Prabang, Laos

Temple elephant break!

A Temple in Luang Prabang, Laos

In what I can only consider to be a huge stroke of luck, the tour was running late, which meant we got to see the monks being called to prayer. The chanting was mind-bogglingly beautiful...

Monks Call to Prayer at a Temple in Luang Prabang, Laos

Monks Call to Prayer at a Temple in Luang Prabang, Laos

Eventually a dog fight broke out during prayers, so one of the young novices was tasked with getting them out of the temple. Much like herding cats, the pour guy had his hands full...

Monks Call to Prayer at a Temple in Luang Prabang, Laos

And... dinner time.

But not before we received THE DISNEY PIN OF THE DAY!

D8 Disney Pin

I'm not sure what this is supposed to mean, but I do like Huey, Dewey, and Louie, so there's that.

Tomorrow is absolutely packed, and requires a 4:30am wake-up, so I suppose it's best to turn in early.

Tags: , ,
Categories: Bullet Sunday 2013Click To It: Permalink  4 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

  Home  

spacer
Welcome:
Blogography is a place to learn and grow by exposing yourself to the mind of David Simmer II, a brilliant commentator on world events and popular culture (or so he claims).
Dave FAQ:
Frequently Asked Questions
Dave Contact:
dave@blogography.com
Blogography Webfeeds:
Atom Entries Feed
Comments Feed
translate me
flags of the world!
lost & found
Search Blogography:
thrice fiction
Thrice Fiction Magazine - March, 2011 - THE END
I'm co-founder of Thrice Fiction magazine. Come check us out!
hard rock moment
Visit DaveCafe for my Hard Rock Cafe travel journal!
travel picto-gram
Visit my travel map to see where I have been in this world!
badgemania
Blogography Badge
Atom Syndicate Badge
Comments Syndicate Badge
Apple Safari Badge
Pirate's Booty Badge
Macintosh Badge
license
All content copyright ©2003-2017
by David Simmer II
   
Creative Commons License
This weblog is licensed under
a Creative Commons License.
ssl security
Comodo SSL