Luang Prabang, Laos
The sound of raining is mixing with the note of gong from Buddist temples, while the city is preparing to rest. Here life unfolds with other times, other rhythms, a different consistency. Small candles illuminate gardens and stone guardians of Buddha temples, their faces lost in an ethereal smile.
Monks walk around dressed in orange, their head shaved, their dark eyes speaking. Three coats, three baskets for offerings, a belt, a razor, a toothpick, an umbrella: they are not allowed to own anything more.
They walk barefoot, quiet in the streets.
At dawn, they receive offerings in a silent procession through the streets of the city.
In silence they pray, bowing in front of high statues of Buddha.
You can see them learning English in their monasteries, running under the rain or chatting under a tree, smiling at curious foreigners. They work in their courtyards, make jokes with children, getting angry with dogs, smoking a cigarette in a moment of privacy.
On the other side of the river there are restaurants and clubs, shops and bars with live music, selling crepes and pancakes, coffees and Lao Beer. Laundry services and wi-fi, Tour operators organising eco tours, trekking, kayaking, massages and aromatherapy, cooking classes and elephant riding: the other side of a city of temples, candles and gold dragons.