Luang Prabang (7)

2 11 2009

Sunday 1st November 2009

DrumWith chicken the most common meat on the menu in Luang Prabang, you will not find it surprising to know that there are chooks in practically every backyard together with more than a few accompanying roosters! Don’t worry about an alarm clock here; roosters do the job well with an unwelcome morning chorus. But roosters wouldn’t really rate a mention except as a lead in to my subject today: DRUMS!

TempleThis is a city of Buddhist temples and we are surrounded by them. Apparently they are called a ‘wat’ if they are occupied by monks and there are several within a very short distance of our guest house. They are quite amazing to look at with buckets of gold paint used in their decoration. But all of them have these huge drums suspended in a tower that the monks lay into with fair sized mallets working in shifts sometimes one at each end. The drum nearest to us is about a metre in diameter and 2 metres long. The pounding of the drum is accompanied by the ringing of gongs and the banging of cymbals with the resulting cacophony painful to the ear in volume (If you are within 30 metres) and painful (to our ears at least) in the pattern of the rhythm. And on special days they start at 4.00am – and today is a full moon and that makes today very special.

Chillies and Garlic

Chillies and Garlic

The resonance of the big drum is so deep I am sure it would set the pineapple juice in your glass shimmering if you happened to be up that early. Mind you, you may as well get up as try to get back to sleep.

This afternoon, to add insult to injury, we had just settled down and begun to listen to the readings and sermon we downloaded from St Johns when it all started again. Well it’s certainly a good goad for some Christian prayer particularly after a long conversation this afternoon with a very pleasant and sincere monk who indicated he would be praying for us – and we for him.big boats

We are still finding plenty to explore in the city: Today we wandered along the bank of the Mekong, found the ‘big boat dock’ (just another part of the same river bank really), checked out the fresh produce market and tonight we found yet another restaurant just up our street that included live Lao music and dancing to enjoy with our dinner. Dancers4The restaurant owner and chef is Japanese and has trained in Germany and Australia, so again we were treated to some culinary excellence as we tried Japanese cuisine with entertainment all for under $20.

Picture 040Sadly for the local economy we were only 2 of 5 diners in the restaurant. There are so many eating places and guest houses in the city and so few tourists to go around. It seems that the world economic downturn has really hit Laos. I guess we will continue to try and do our bit as far and cover as many fine dining places as possible.




2 responses

2 11 2009

ear muffs needed?

2 11 2009

Oh you poor things – being morally obliged to go to fabulous restaurants etc. – I can only imagine what that must be like for you. Keep up the good work, struggle on as best you can. Love, Matthew.

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