Thursday, December 2, 2010

Travels in Don Khong - December 2nd, 2010

In Don Khong

When we moved here from Canada we had to get used to going everywhere by scooter again. It was a joy not to have to use a car. Of course, we are no longer protected by the metal and glass cage, no longer have climate control or music but the weather here is so damned good and an i-pod with buds took care of the other problem. Nothing really beats exploring the countryside around Vientiane, seeing water buffaloes and people in pointy hats working in rice paddies while listening to The Doors.

Our first trip in Don Khong was on a pair of rented bicycles and the difference between a motorbike and a bicycle is also pretty radical. The noise for one thing and the speed for another.

But the slowness of the trip makes you realize another thing about speed: speed eats up smells. Once you slow things down you can suddenly smell again: honeysuckle warmth and the languid smell of the wind, freshly harvested hay and the warm, warm earth. Thus our bike trip through the island was filled with the slow exhaustion and perfumed tide of perfect leisure.

At bicycle pace the light can dance for you the way it was always meant to dance. Reflections of the sunlight on the wet crop rice paddies, the undulant warmth of a buffalo’s back as he turns over in his mud bath.

Time slows down, the clock turns back. Wind in trees take on meaning, the bending boughs laden with significance, saying: this is now!

Another trip by motorcycle allowed us to go further, all the way to the ends of the island. On one tip are simple houses and women making rice paper for springrolls, and the island is a patchwork of small agricultural villages. You buy gas from a hand pump. I imagined a good friend living there, far from the problems of the world, growing his crops.

And always, as everywhere in this blessed land, the people! The Lao smiling, the Lao giving, the Lao generous and splendid!

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful photos and writing, Mair. I loved the black and white photos of Montrose, too. We don't have any snow on the roads this year...just a sprinkling on the grass. It has been quite lovely although getting colder.