On the front cover of today’s Vientiane Times is the news: End Of Buddhist Lent, A Time For Celebrations!
So it’s official. People can get drunk again. Riding through the city has become a labyrinth of party to party instead of street to street and path to path. Everywhere you go people are dancing, singing into microphones, setting off firecrackers and drinking. And drinking.
It is also the season of the boat races on the Mekong. The entire country closes down for two days for the boat races. I’m sure it’s really exciting and the boats are surely very colourful, but please don’t expect and photos from me: I don’t exactly suffer from enochlophobia but I am increasingly finding crowds and official celebrations to be unpleasant.
It is nice, though, to awaken to blue skies and watch as the rains become rarer. In one month the city will be scorched again, red and thirsty, and I will miss those tropical storms but in one month it will be snowing in Canada, and I do love a consolation prize.
Marie-Do and I took advantage of a lull to go biking along the Mekong today; from Kilometer Eight up to Kilometer Four to pick the kids up from the École Hoffet. On the way we stopped in a few temples and enjoyed meeting an American Lao who has come back to the Motherland to do his stint in the monastery.
We also fell upon this wonderful fresco of Lao heaven and hell. You’ll notice that the folk in heaven are not just counting American dollars, they’re counting Ben Franklins! The folk in hell come complete with three dimensions and chains, handcuffs and a comic book demon who looks like he’s saying, “Holy Anathema, Batman, look who’s not fornicating anymore!”
Spring is indeed in the air.