Looking Back: Luang Prabang

| December 21, 2009 | 0 Comments
watvisoun Looking Back: Luang Prabang

Wat Visoun

Luang Prabang (July 6, 2002) — I went out this afternoon and walked through the streets of Luang Prabang, shored up by a lunch of pho (noodles and vegetables), and into the Talat Dala—a market smelling of peanuts and burnt rice. On a hill above rose the “That Chomsi”—a two hundred year-old stupa, shining in the sun like a pregnant lotus blossom. All around lay French colonial edifices—interspersed with more traditional Lao architecture—and beyond that, silent and melancholy, the Mekong rolled on towards Vientiane, carrying with it fractals of the afternoon light. But there’s nothing to connect Luang Prabang with Vientiane. They belong to different worlds. Luang Prabang exists as, writes Marthe Bassene, “a delightful paradise of idleness . . . the refuge of the last dreamers”. At dusk, motorbikes buzz lazily through dirt avenues, lit from above by fluorescent bulbs that flicker onto the street through insistent moths; the sky glitters like gold-leaf and pink clouds hang low over the shoulders of the mountains that surround the city.

We’ve started a new category on our blog called ‘Looking Back’ that will include an occasional entry from our journals that date back to 2001 when we first began writing about living and travelling abroad. We’ll present these paired with a photo in the form of a verbal postcard. Together, these postcards provide an (in)formal and often (in)coherent narrative of the trips we’ve taken!

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About the Author ()

For nearly ten years now, Daniel of Two Go Round-The-World has explored how travel captures our imagination and engages our deepest emotions. One half of the duo that maintains the widely read Two Go Round-The-World blog, Daniel treats his subjects not only as works of art but also as symbols of the cultural and political forces that inspire them. His latest book, The Physics of Flocking, gathers his favourite writing featured over the past two years on Two Go Round-The-World in columns like 'Looking Back' and 'The Whole Picture'—along with new reflections.

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