BATU, Indonesia. Photo by Jes Aznar

Friday, December 10, 2010

Letters from Luang Prabang

It seemed like a never-ending cliff-hanging hell of a bus ride under the darkest sky and the thickest fog. I hardly slept on the overnight trip and did not for a second feel like a VIP on the supposedly "VIP" bus, no thanks to the Thai music blaring on the radio, cramped leg room and the combined stench of food and sweat.

But after more than ten hours up the rugged and mountainous zig-zag terrain, we finally reach Luang Prabang, Laos. And there, staring before my sleep-deprived body and soul is a patch of heaven on earth. I see a breathtaking, majestic land surrounded by mountains and rolling hills. Here, the air is crisp and the morning sky, now a clear curtain of blue. There is mixture of quaint French style villas and ethnic Asian homes on the side of the Mekong River. Food is good and the night market provides a welcome feast for the eyes.

Everybody says "Sawadee" --- perhaps, it's something like a hello. They smile. We smile back. Laid back yet vibrant.

Have I mentioned the Beer Lao? Good price and no hang-over but if you ever get one from the perfect Mojitos from Lao Lao Garden, you can wake up early in the morning and give some alms to monks in their orange robes. It's the perfect cure for any hangover or hang-up.

Jes captures everything with his lens -- from the golden Pagodas that shine under the glistening sun to the Lao Laos everywhere.

Beer Lao and Lao Coffee and the view of the sunset from the Mekong River -- ah, nothing can compare. Here, indeed, is a slice of heaven on earth.