Friday, March 12, 2010

LAOS TRAVEL PART 2: Luang Prabang

The night bus to Luang Prabang was probably one of the strangest journeys I've taken. We were told we were taking the "VIP" Bus, but we quickly learned that we must not be Very Important People because the bus had seats that didn't recline and seemed to make a stop every twenty minutes. I tried to sleep, but it was almost impossible, and every time I opened my eyes I saw something strange: a bizarre carnival, a gruesome motorcycle accident. I felt like I was in a David Lynch movie.

So Hanna and I arrived in Luang Prabang in the early morning a bit tired, but happy. The entire city is actually a World Heritage Site due to its many Buddhist temples and colonial French architecture.

After picking a random cheap guesthouse, we wandered around the historic areas. I was surprised by how affected I was by the temples (also called wats). They are very ornate and beautiful and small and, as I'm sure you can imagine, there is an emphasis on quiet. Ducking out of the sun and stepping into these dark, intimate, gold-flecked little rooms, I could see why people are drawn to Buddhism. The Buddha statues, the incense, the altar - it all seemed to have been created with a great deal of love. Also, while religion has historically been the cause of some horrific shit over the centuries, it has also inspired some magnificent art. In the past when I've seen gorgeous cathedrals or eerie Jesus paintings, it's always given me a sense of awe, but with the Buddhist wats I was left more with a feeling of quiet wonder and introspection. The last Jewish thing I did was taschlich in the beginning of the year and I had sort of forgotten how nice spirituality can be.

1 comment:

  1. I felt the same way about all the Buddhist temples we visited in Japan!