Luang Prabang - more my size

Trip Start Jan 13, 2013
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10
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Trip End Feb 05, 2013


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Flag of Lao Peoples Dem Rep  ,
Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Arrived in Luang Prabang.  Although it is very much a tourist destination (mostly for Thai's) it is a lovely and charming town.  Much smaller and less westernized than Bangkok and Chiang Mai.  We are in a very old, but beautiful hotel outside of town - our room is a stone's throw from the Mekong River!

 Grand Luang Prabang hotel is situated on grounds of the Xiengkeo Palace which belonged to the famous nationalist hero of Luang Prabang, Prince Phetsarath. He chose this site for tranquility, its stunning views of the mighty Mekong River, and the breathtaking landscape of mountains surrounding Luang Prabang

 Welcomed to Laos with a traditional baci - a wonderful ceremony used in Laos for almost every occasion.  First chanting and blessing by an elder from the town, then tying many strings around our wrists for good luck.  We are to leave them on (or at least one of them - there are a dozen or so!) for 3 days. Then an offering made of marigolds (which we will take to the temple in the morning) and finishing with rice wine (which tastes like sake).  A lovely ceremony and beautiful people.  It is an ancient belief in Laos that the human body is made up of 32 organs and the kwan watch over and protect each of them. The baci ceremony calls the kwn or vital life force from where ever they may be roaming, brings them back to the body, secures them  in place and restores equilibrium - thus avoiding illness or bad fortune. The ceremony involves, among other things, tying cotton strings around the wrists of the person being welcomed.  The baci is done for practically any event - wedding, new house, new bay, leaving on trip, coming back from trip, illness, etc, etc.
  
Will be arising at 5AM to observe tak baat or alms giving.in town - a daily morning ritual in which the monks walk through town and are given sticky rice or other food by people from the town (who want to gain merit for themselves and their families.)

The hotel manager has rescued several water buffalo who live on the grounds and eat grass (and alas shrubs and flowers as well). He rescued two, one thing led to another and now there are five.  Cool animals!  Although it is a bit disconcerting to walk out on the patio of our room and come nose to nose with a water buffalo drinking from the little pond behind out room.  They are an impressive size but seem pretty easy-going.  One man appears to have the job of following them around to keep them from eating any shrub completely to the ground or trampling any tourists.

Actually, we have noticed that the stray dogs - which are everywhere and look pretty well-fed - are laid back, too.  You hardly ever hear them barking.  Perhaps they are also Buddhist?

 
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Comments

Midwifemb on

You are in Luang Prabang! I could CRY with jealousy! Enjoy!!!!!!!!

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