A significant feature of the Buddhist culture is that Monks take a morning walk, at 6am in today’s case, to collect food for their daily meal.
The procession of monks passes by alms givers sitting on low stools with bowls of ‘sticky rice’ and individually wrapped biscuits, or fruit.
The monk offers his bowl and one food offering is made.
Occasionally, the monks take a handful of food from their bowl and throw it into baskets for the poor or needy.
This parade goes on all over town between 6am and 7am and has become something of a tourist attraction.
Several early birds in our number were up for this spectacle, a significant event in Luang Prabang.
The route to Oudomxay is only 214 kms so a relatively late start allowed us a leisurely departure from the hotel, to battle the rush hour traffic out of town.
We crossed the Nam Khan river and said goodbye to the Mekong and followed route 13 until reaching the Nam Ou river bridge.
On the route, evidence of Chinese investment was everywhere with a huge dam construction and hydro electric power project underway.
We passed lots of Teak plantations and were surprised how tall and thin they grow when young. And indeed how young some of the loggers looked 🙂
The route was a gently meander along the river with beautiful countryside and scenery to keep us interested.
We reached Pak Mong and headed into the hills for 120 kms of twisty bends rising relentlessly from 300 metres to 1300 meters and the ridge where our lunch restaurant had panoramic views.
This spot gave four cars the opportunity to have a “reunion”, having passed this road before in the opposite direction driving from London to Sydney. Unfortunately, Paul’s car was delayed tending to his flock, but maybe we can photoshop him in later!
It was the Gault’s car in particular that needed Paul’s attention, and this also gave those of who also stopped with them a chance to share our biscuits. Zani, Bruno’s wife, had provided us all with gorgeous buttery shortbread and we decided to share some with the family opposite the car garage who were wondering what on earth was going on opposite them!
The afternoon run was only 70 kms through beautiful countryside and charming villages where it was evident that Chinese investment was improving the economy of the area. New houses were sprouting up, new roofs were being added and the shops were busy. The normal wooden stilt house with a thatched roof was less in evidence and sadly they may all be gone in 5 years time.
Our hotel for the night is an Eco-resort in the middle of nowhere at the end of a 7 km road; but it is sublime. Individual chalets gather around a central reception and the whole site is laced with running streams.
Tonight we celebrate Adele’s 70th in true Rally style, leaving David lots of dollars poorer.