Alms Giving to the Monks

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We had a 5:15 wake up call so we could participate in the ancient Buddhist tradition of alms-giving to the local monks. Although it is the dry season, it started to rain last night and continued all day today.
We sat on small stools and were given baskets of sticky rice to spoon into the monk's buckets as they filed past.
Each morning hundreds of monks file solemnly and single file through the streets of Luang Prabang collecting food offerings from the citizens.
In turn, the citizens receive prayers for their families and friends.
After the alms-giving, we visited an outdoor market for a typical Laotian breakfast.
We were each given an ingredient to purchase at the market using the Lao language.
Ours was rice noodles. The ingredients were used later at our home hosted lunch.
We continued through the market looking at all the native produce and food products and mingling with the locals as they purchased their groceries for the day.



We watched how people tried to keep dry on their motorbikes.

We went by bus about 45 minute drive up into the mountians to visit a village and school.
They are stripping bamboo for various crafts.
The chief of the village walked us around the village. Here he showed us a teak leaf which when rubbed produces a red stain that is used to dye silk.
The village is supported by the Grand Circle Foundation (GCF). The GCF built a pipeline from the mountains so the villagers would have fresh water instead of having to walk down to the Mekong River to get water.

Typical village house with teak walls

Cutting bamboo sticks to make fishing baskets like those on the table.
Picking lice?
Our local guide, Cheers.
The teacher instructs the 1st and 2nd graders on the Lao alphabet and pronunciation.
We joined the students during their lesson.
Barbara reads an English book to a student.
The shaman from the local Hmong hill tribe came to the school to tell us about the tribe and some of his practices.
He played a couple of the instruments he uses.
We left the school and went back to the house of the chief and his wife. where we helped prepare lunch with the ingredients we had purchased at the market.
One by one we poured our ingredients into a huge wok which was heated over a wood fire.
Fred stirs the pot after adding our rice noodles.
David and Diane add their ingredients.
The result was a delicious stir fry with all kinds of vegetables and spices. But it was only the appetizer.
The chief's wife had prepared the rest of the lunch which included soup, fish cooked in banana leaves and brown sticky rice. We came away very full!
We spent our final morning in Luang Prabang visiting the Royal Palace Museum.
The museum was built in 1904-09 during the reign of the last king of Laos. Today it is a museum where we saw the royal throne and other artifacts but no cameras were allowed inside.
The other building on the palace grounds was a temple housing a pure gold Buddha from the 1st century. Again, no photos were allowed of the Buddha itself but it was a beautiful building. It was built in 1969 and the Buddha moved there from the Royal Palace.
This carriage is used to carry a monk during the Lao New Year Parade.
This carriage is used to carry the Prabang Buddha from the Royal Palace Museum to the temple..
Fred and Barb
The pedestrian bridge over the Mekong was damaged during heavy rains.
We ordered a delicious lunch at a restaurant run by a Canadian woman.
We headed to the airport via tuk-tuks.
Notice how he is on his cell phone!
A Honda motor bike shop.
A bike repair shop
Flying out of Luang Prabang to Vientiane
Views of the Mekong River

To learn more about our trip around Luang Prabang, go to the Luang Prabang Newsletter. To view the next photo gallery, go to Vientiane Photo Gallery.

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