28.12.2016 - 28.12.2016 31 °C
Wednesday, December 28
We started the day early, getting up at 5 to walk downtown and give alms to the monks. Our coordinator had arranged for us to give the ‘tourist sampler’ offering to the monks. The streets were lined with woven bamboo mats and low stools to sit on after we removed our shoes. At our feet were a basket of various packaged treats, to which some of us had added fruit, and a bamboo container of sticky rice.
As the procession of more than a hundred monks walked quickly past, we gave the monks a handful of rice or a treat. These Theravada Buddhist monks eat twice a day before noon but they cannot cook for themselves. They must live on the food that others offer to them. After noon, they can only drink water. Among the procession of monks, there were quite a few novices (under age 18).
Later in the day, we went to the Museum of Traditional Arts and Ethnology Centre and learned about the lifestyles and crafts of various hill tribes in Laos: primarily loom weaving, basket weaving and silver craft.
We also visited a silk worm farm and then rode in a tuk-tuk up a curvy mountain road to the incredibly beautiful Kuang Si Waterfall where we swam in the turquoise water. It was chilly at first but we had fun posing for photos with our fellow travellers.
Back in the city, we climbed Mount Phousi to see the sun set behind the mountains but we came down before sunset because of the crowds in the limited space at the top. Donna bought a Laotian skirt at the night market which she plans to wear on New Year's Eve.