Luang Prabang (6)

1 11 2009

Saturday 31st October 2009

Around the corner from our guest house is the office of ‘Big brother mouse’. It was to this we headed straight after our leisurely breakfast under the shade of banana and papaya palms and frangipani to spend a couple of hours sitting with young students who want to practice their English. We enjoyed it immensely and probably got a lot more from the interaction than these young Lao boys did. classMost teaching in Laos is by rote learning so this opportunity is a unique way to give them some practical language exposure. We can only imagine how difficult it must be to listen to the various English accents of Continental Europeans, Irish, English, American, Australian etc and learn pronunciation. We were sitting near a couple from Glasgow, Scotland this morning and could barely understand them ourselves.

Maree teachingThe teacher came out in Maree as two young men she was with were talking about their village life situation using pictures from books. They were obviously impressed as she got an invitation to stay in their village and the promise of a pig to celebrate.

Being able to speak English will give these young people an advantage in employment and no doubt have other educational benefits. Read more about Big brother mouse here:


Can you imagine trusting your new car to this ferry to cross the Mekong?

Conversation also opened opportunity to talk about our faith in answer to questions about what we do. In a country where Christianity is completely invisible and Buddhism is the predominant religion, it has been our only opportunity.

We occupied the afternoon in a completely different way. We hired a motorbike and toured around the city with a bit of a trip out of town. motor bikingWe think that a licence is not needed here and they didn’t ask for one so we donned oversize helmets and headed off up the right hand side of the road, which is what they do here – mostly. We decided it must be 35 years since either of us rode a motor bike and I have to admire Maree’s nerve in trusting me to negotiate the traffic.

Although it is nothing like Vietnam we still found ourselves being overtaken by a car at one stage with two cars passing that were coming in the other direction – all that on a 2 lane road! The one consolation is that everyone drives slowly. In fact the biggest challenge we had on the bike was not wobbling too much because we had to go so slow. Many motorbike riders ride with umbrellas up for sun shades and young lady pillion passengers generally ride side-saddle!view from Phu Si

As an addendum to the early morning hill climb a few days ago I returned up the 400 steps tonight to see the sunset only to find I had taken my phone instead of the camera! Anyway according to my phone camera this was the view 20 minutes before sunset . In the distance you can see the roof of one of the dozens of Buddhist temples in the city.




One response

1 11 2009

more than ever I wish I could be doing all this too great. love mum

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