27.12.2016 - 27.12.2016 27 °C
Tuesday, December 27
We had a free day today to just explore the old town of Luang Prabang. The nicest surprise was the climate!! Lyle found the early morning air actually chilly and changed from shorts into long pants. By mid-day, it had warmed up quite a bit, but it still was not sweltering, especially if you kept to the shade.
Lyle gathered the photos people had taken of the fellow who passed away and prepared a PPT presentation for his family to let them know that he had been doing what he loved when he passed on. G Adventures brought in some extra support people to help our host and us deal with the situation.
For the two of us, this free day was just a sweet time to walk along the 2 rivers, people-watch, eat some nice Lao food and ‘feel’ the vibe of the old city – a calm contrast to some of the other places we have been recently. In the mid-afternoon, we caught a glimpse of some young monks playing down on the beach. One was doing handstands and another was swimming with water wings the colour of his robe. We also found poinsettia trees!
Efforts are made to keep the city very clean. Communist flags (yellow hammer and sickle on a red background) are flown alongside the national flag.
Laos has a new president (elected this past summer) who is taking a different approach to national development and sustainability. He wants there to be no poor Laotian. He cut off trade in forest products (especially the old trees) to Vietnam and is visiting rural areas to promote self-reliance using sustainable processes. As a result of these changes, some NGOs (such as World Vision) are no longer working in Laos. Laotians are optimistic that he is on the right path to help the country develop.