Love Luang Prabang – My newest favorite place, Luang Prabang, is nestled on a tiny river peninsula. Build around Mt. Phousi, the town stretches along the Mekong river and the many wats dotting the town’s landscape reflect golden rays of light through the palm tree canopy. Maxang House, our humble abode for the moment, is a huge concrete building with an open patio near the rear. When the afternoons reach unbearable temperatures, we hang out in the lower levels, where the cool cement offers a cool respite from the outside humidity.
It’s Still Hot – It’s hot here, very hot – above 100 degrees every day. We don’t tend to be very ambitious after 12 o’clock, and we often lie around day-dreaming of refreshing ocean waters and ice cream (or Chicago winters!). The past few days have been quite fun, and we’ve been traipsing around the beautiful landscape.
Luang Prabang Exploring – We went to Kuang Si falls, a winding 28 km drive up into the mountains. We happened to be part of only a handful of tourists interested in hiking to the tip-top of the waterfall. Four hundred + stone stairs later and some very sore legs, we were staring out over some striking views below us, and I didn’t want to leave. The huge multi-tiered fall tumbled down before us, and spilled over limestone formations into turquoise pools. Beautiful!
Another afternoon took us to Pak Ou Cave, accessible only by a boat. Hidden in the tiny crevice of the shore was a huge cave, holding an estimated 3000 Buddha images and statues. The Buddha statues were pretty neat. The different postures of the Buddhas represent various periods of the life of Buddha. For example, a reclining Buddha depicts the exact moment of Buddha’s enlightenment, a sitting Buddha represents teaching or meditating, and a walking Buddha depicts his return to earth from heaven.
Distinctive to the Lao region is the “Calling for Rain Buddha,” in which the statue is standing with his hands stretched out before him. We spent a large portion of our time on our hands and knees searching for the various positions and looking for the Lao’s special Buddha. We didn’t find him, but I did spy a few large spiders…..