Ban Xai News 2nd April
Luang Prabang is a gentle city along the banks of the Mekong River ,wonderful Buddhist temples , saffron draped monks ,young tourists, all in a slightly old French atmosphere. The tourist centre around the hill of Phu Si with a gilded stupa called That Chompsi which to reach has 329 steps , is the older part of town and has great French/Lao architecture and it also has UNESCO word heritage status .
The drive from Ban Xai to Luang Prabang was enormous . We had a great driver in a 12 seater bus and the journey took eight hours with a stop for lunch and some viewing. The road in that eight hours was constantly winding as well ascending and descending, 1000 times the Gillies Range in FNQ . The mountainous scenery was obscured unfortunately with smoke . We passed through many villages of Hmong and Khamu seated precariously on hill slopes some really teetering on the edge of enormous drops to valleys below . The villagers were incredibly busy getting ready for the wet season storing wood and gathering reed for re thatching of roofs and weaving for walls and burning the ground in preparation for more crops ,a great variety too.
Every where in Laos is food , it is a way of life whether being grown harvested or eaten.the tiniest bit of land roadside will be growing some veges and some wonderful meals are prepared and appear from nowhere in the most rudimentary of kitchens.Yum!!
We saw caves and great waterfalls and working elephants , so as you can see we had a lovely break away but we were pleased to be back at Ban Xai with the big northern sky.
Things have been cracking along here while we have been on holiday The revised pump installation has been finished with concrete surrounds of valves and cavities with concrete lids . Shelves to the work shed room.
We are fortunate to have some trees which are being planted over the next few days.
A stand of gum trees , a citrus grove and some plum trees as well as papaya will adorn the property.
The watering system is working a treat and the Cassava pig food is totally revitalized with fresh green leaves sprouting from everywhere.
We had a wonderful down pour of rain today the second since we have been here with that lovely earthy smell that rain brings on dry ground.
In my last news letter I misunderstood, Lao New Year is the week after next with from what I am told much water throwing will let you know if I get drenched, could be fun.
Evenings here are wonderful, children from the village come up to say hello and I suspect for a balloon or marble . I purchased some Lao school books which have an English interpretation so the afternoons are story time , the kids love it.Also the lady from the shop calls in to see what I am cooking for dinner I think I have passed muster although my rice cooking maybe a little under par.
It was wonderful today to see the water point in use, a family bathing while at the school the children love having the water to cool off with and wash . Oh the gentle pace of Ban xai.
Colene & David