Early

I’m in Laos now, in Luang Prabang. I officially leaned that you do not pronounce the “s” at the end of Laos.

A little hunger is growing. It’s the latter part of the 7th hour and I’ve been up since 4:45. A 9:30pm bedtime proved that I’ve gotten into some unexpected sleep early, rise early routine. We awoke to smoky darkness, the little town shuffling about to get the morning market started.

Bill, our host at the Golden Lotus is beautifully sweet. My favorite image of him is in his adorably formal suit, totally drenched in water due to Songkran mischief, the thin fabric clinging to his body and further accentuating his tiny frame.

We walked down the alley like street to the main road. Bill laid out mats for us and handed us warm woven baskets filled with sticky rice. Soon, a procession of hundreds of monks wearing deep orange robes would walk down in silence holding lidless baskets. The kneeling line of people would place inside Kip (cash), packaged treats, or like us, tiny balls of sticky rice. It is the sacred Alms giving ceremony.

I became slightly panicked as I realized my hands had not recently been washed, but felt less guilt when I saw that sticky rice balls were being placed on top of money (which I guarantee were far dirtier than my hands).

Now, S has gone back to sleep and I’m enjoying some peaceful me time. I strolled downstream along the Mekong river, peering down the hill sloped shore to see what I could observe down the 60 feet where the river flows calmly but steadily. The air is incredibly smoky and the sun is fluorescent orange and perfectly circular through the haze. Right now, it’s hovering between some palm trees to my right. A motorbike rumbles by. And to my left, the birds sing high in the trees and the peaceful river marches on.

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