Lovely Luang Prabang
Trip Start Aug 22, 2012
63Trip End Jun 16, 2013
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Filled with temples and monks, this World Heritage Site's most intriguing attraction is the 6:30am daily 'alms’ where the monks walk in silence through the streets while locals and some tourists give them offerings of rice. There are times, as well, when needy children collect rice from the monks. Jim was fascinated/obsessed by this ceremony and got up almost every morning to photograph it.
We met a few of the novice monks. Vixsai chatted with us one morning before starting alms. We were standing by the fence that separated the street from the temple complex and he was sitting under a nearby tree
I had read about Big Brother Mouse in December and knew then that I wanted to get involved with this organization (www.bigbrothermouse.com). We located them early in our days in Luang Prabang and decided to sponsor a book party for a village school. By donating $250-$400, the organization then offers a book party consisting of games, treats, books for each child and for the school library. The donor is invited to attend the party and experience the impact of the donation. That was a highlight! The children were so excited to receive a new pencil and paper, to play some games, read books, enjoy a glass of juice and a cookie and, finally, receive their own book. Many parents attended and were having almost as much fun as the children.
One of the highlights of our time here was connecting with Lori, someone I coached gymnastics back in the early 1980s and had not seen since 1989 when she was still a teenager. She lives in Calgary and had read one of my postings about our travel on Facebook. She posted that she was going on vacation in Thailand, Cambodia and Laos and it looked like there was a possibility we would be in Luang Prabang about the same time! Given that both of us travel in similar ways in that we don’t plan too much in advance and tend to go with the flow, we were lucky to be able to have a lovely dinner with her and Brent, catching up on the 24 year gap of our lives
Which leads me to the topic of age....I turned 55 while in Luang Prabang and although I cannot believe I am that age and never thought anyone else would believe I am that age, it turns out that especially to younger people, I look old. I am called ‘mama’, men do not look at me longingly, I could be the mother of almost everyone who works in the tourism service and they don’t hesitate to tell me that. It’s very different than 28 years ago when Jim and I travelled for a year. Yet, other than extra weight, some aches and pains, a lot of wisdom I feel like the same young woman and I continue to be surprised that others see me so differently than how I see myself! I don’t know if this is a sign of a lack of self-awareness or youthful bliss. I’ll go with the latter!
Please note that this blog entry is dated Feb. 11. We are now on March 1 and in Africa where, between limited access to Internet and power outages, we will have more difficulty doing our posts. Stick with us though. We will do our best to post. We still have a few more posts to catch up on!