Pi Mai Lao 2550

Date: 15/04/2007 | Author: Gabby

Laos New Year is celebrated particularly enthusiastically in Luang Prabang. Wanting to be there to witness the festivities was our main reason for staying in the region for so long. I don't think any of us realised quite how fervently the Lao and farangs (foreigners) would embrace the 3 day festival. It is traditionally called a 'water festival' as getting wet brings good luck, but not only plain water is thrown, there's coloured water, flour, grease, paint. It's not a time or place to decide to wear your best clothes....
Our guest house owner, Khune, spent the week prior to New Year tinkering with his open-topped US Jeep in order to get it working so we could drive to and around town in it every day. Of course, this guaranteed that we would be soaked by the time we arrived in town. A bit of a blessing really because once we were wet through we didn't mind the additional dousings.
We, of course, participated in the more spiritual elements of New Year with Khone and Khune: for good luck we built a sand stupa on the banks of the Mekong (normally sandy but a bit muddy this year due to the thunderous rain that had fallen during the preceding nights), we watched the procession, where everyone, including monks, nuns and local dignitaries are doused in water to wash away past sins.
By far the best fun was plotting up at a bar on Luang Prabang's main road and witnessing and participating in the madness and mayhem that ensued. Of course, the girls gave as good as they got, I entered in to the sprit of things with my usual enthusiasm and Dave took plenty of photos. It was a lot of fun, no one lost their temper or got mad and once the sun went down, without a word, everything stopped enabling us to put on some dry clothes and walk through the streets safely.

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