1 July, Luang Prabang

Sticky rice cooking in an alley

It’s often the stuff that sneaks up on you that’s the most affecting. This morning I cut through an alley to get to the Laos coffee place behind my hotel and came across a pot of sticky rice being steamed outside a house. The pot and bamboo steamer black from their time over the wood fire. It looked lovey, smelled better. There was also a little old woman amused that I was photographing her rice pot. Silly tourist.

In the Laos coffee shop there was an American woman, who works for Nike in Saigon. She said, “we really should be giving more back to the community.” Understatement, but I have ideas for this. More about that in a different post. She also questioned my plan to visit Burma* later this summer, given their human rights abuses. This may sound like an overstatement, but it seems to me it only differs from what’s happening in the U.S. by a matter of degrees. If the U.N. was still in the business (read: had the stomach) of sending in Blue Helmets they would be justified sending them to both the U.S. and Burma.

Kids playing in the alley

Oh dear, I went a bit off piste there.

Back to Luang Prabang for now. Outside my window is an alley that the kids use as a quiet place to play. Every night there are elaborate games being played in the alley. In the photo you can see that grandma is confused by the rules of the game in progress. It seemed that little sister’s job was to play dead while her two big brothers ran around performing elaborate ceremonies.

The view from bed

When I got into bed last night this is the view that was waiting for me. Everything is so beautiful here it looks like the kind of cheesy painting you’d see for sale in a shop that sells dragon statues and replica Game of Thrones swords. It’s hard to photograph because it all looks like a postcard.

It has been beautiful here. A relief after the urban overkill of Ho Chi Minh City. I didn’t do much during my week HCMC. I walked around, took the bus to Chinatown. Went on a food tour, didn’t eat the live silkworms. All that’s on the Instagram. I need to start witholding from the Instagram so I have something to put on the blog.

A Saigon Sampler below:

*Burma or Myanmar? You can call it either. One is not more politically correct than the other. The military government renamed it Myanmar, not a popular uprising. The ethnic majority people (80%) are Bamar or Burman.

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