Dynargh dhe'n Blogofrob

Monday 6th September 2004

The bus left Vientiane at 6:30am. This obviously meant I had to leave my guesthouse even earlier - this did, however, have its advantages. I noticed, looking down into the damp quiet street, from the open landing outside my room, various lines of saffron-swathed monks stretching into the distance. They were patiently waiting while women, kneeling outside their homes, filled the monks' alms bowls, one by one, with what must have been either money or food. I noticed further groups of monks and benevolent women on the streets from the back of the tuk-tuk as it took me to the bus station.

The journey was 10 hours. Although the bus was fairly uncomfortable, and recent attacks on buses travelling Route 13 leaving both locals and tourists dead played slightly on my mind as I tried to ignore the mosquitos dancing up the inside of the windows, any inconveniences were forgotten once I looked at the surrounding countryside. For much of the journey the road wound around inspiring forest covered mountains, over which disparate cloud rolled lazily. The journey was a fitting prelude to Luang Prabang, on whose streets I strolled later in the afternoon. The place is beautiful, like one of Italo Calvino's more fantastical Invisible Cities. Walking through the streets seems to me to be like entering a dream - everywhere the quiet murmer of unhurried life forms a soundtrack to scenery of giant overhanging trees, countless wats, and streets of traditional rattan houses, fluttering butterflies, chickens, dogs, children and a monkey.

That night I wandered down a dark alleyway back to my guesthouse followed by the lone chanting of a monk from a nearby Wat. It would have been a sublime moment, had I not begun to realise that I couldn't remember where the guesthouse was, and that street-lighting is not yet de rigueur in these parts.

56 - posted at 10:04:36


I'm glad to see you're reading Red Dust - I hope it's interesting (and that I can borrow it after you...)

1: Claire - 10:45:19 on Tuesday 7th September 2004 (permalink)

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