While staying in Luang Prabang, Laos, we hired a river guide to take us up the Mekong in his long boat to visit a small Buddhist monastery. Our arrangement was for him to pick us up in an hour at a small village down river. We meandered around the quiet monastery and small temple not disturbing the monks who were sleeping, as it was afternoon, their rest time. Hanging on clotheslines were yards of saffron cloth freshly hand washed and drying in the sun. The centuries old vibrant colors amid verdant green foliage were striking.
Trying to stay on schedule, we found the footpath that led to the dirt road taking us into the village. The outskirts were quite primitive and dirty. No one seemed to be around.
Further on, stood Mr.Thongdy Siphanthong, our guide. He beamed proudly and pointed to his child hood home, a nicely built concrete house. He said he thought he would meet us so we wouldn’t get lost, even though it is one road, one village. We could hear some music off in the distance, but as we got closer, the ground seemed to vibrate.
And there it was.
A huge modern sound system complete with a DJ.
Tables and red plastic chairs (like the ones at Wal-Mart) were set up under umbrellas and
canopies. Young people in their finest clothes were partying, eating and dancing. Suddenly, Mr. Siphanthong ushered us in. Plastic cups of beer with suspect ice were given to us. Everyone watching.Then, a woman ladled rice noodles and vegetables onto plates for us to eat. Everyone watching.
“This is when we’ll be using our Cipro”, I said to Ron.
Yes. We ate. We drank. We danced. We laughed.
We helped celebrate the birth of a baby.
And no. We didn’t need our Cipro.
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