Now we’ve been here a couple days in Luang Prabang, Laos and I’m starting to get to know the town a little. Laos (pronounced “Lao”, drop the s) is mountainous and very wet, so everything is lush and green. There’s a big river called the Nam Khan that runs through the middle of town with two bridges going across- the old one and the new one. The new bridge is big enough for cars to go across, and the old bridge is only for bikes and motorcycles with small foot bridges on either side. I call the latter “the sketchy bridge.” There’s only one support post in the middle of the river, the metal is rusting and corroding on the whole bridge, and in some places there are missing or loose boards. Hence the name, sketchy bridge… I definitely prefer biking across because it goes faster.
Early every morning, hundreds of monks leave the temples and walk through the streets collecting alms of rice and other food to bring back to the temple for their one meal of the day. Occasionally they stop to bless a home or group of women, who squat on the side of the road to give the monks rice, but otherwise they walk and walk, barefoot through town, until they make it back to their temple. The monks are as young as 8 years old, many of them orphans.
We have eaten some delicious local food so far including fish curry cooked in banana leaf, ground chicken wrapped in lemongrass and fried, flavorful dips with handfuls of fresh sticky rice, and lemon grass pork on bamboo skewers. We’ve had some great fruit juices too. Tomorrow we’re going to have a cooking class and learn how to make Lao food. I’ll take lots of pictures!