Tuesday, 9 February 2010

A Sunrise and a Sunset

There are two MUST-dos when you come to the ancient and sacred city of Luang Prabang: climb to the tiny temple atop Phou Si to watch the sun slip behind the mountains over the Mekong, and then rise for 6.30 to line the streets where the processions of monks and novices leave their monasteries in search of alms. It starts with a beating of a drum and, once awake, the monks start their morning stroll.

Simon is here feeding the traditional sticky rice to the monks. The monks were a huge sight, with their saffron-coloured robes and their large silver bowls that they carried over their shoulders. The monks were generally very young, with an average age of ten years, roughly, though there were two that we saw who were sixty plus.

After the monks had been on their food patrol, they walked back to their respective monasteries, not forgetting to take a small helping of their rice to leave on the wats, as well as inside a small shrine, as a grateful offering. I guess after all this happens they go back and feast! After all, it was lunchtime of the day before when they last ate as they don’t eat a meal in the evening, just breakfast and lunch.

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