After some inclusive French toast for breakfast, I went in search of a way out of Luang Prabang ideally for this evening and try to continue on south to Thakhek for what I planned to be a motorbike adventure through a famous loop of the countryside and caves that is still relatively untouristed along with a recently discovered river cave that has been reputed as the world’s largest river cave called Xe Bang Fai River Cave. After much wrangling around with the multitude of travel agencies on the main strip, I finally got my ticket out after emphasizing the desire for me to have an upper level seat to myself in this sleeper bus along with the dire need and necessity to have a functioning toilet onboard for obvious reasons as I predicted to be a consistent resident of its facilities. I walked around town to see what I had missed on my first go around and essentially kill time. I had made the long standing decision to not visit any of the temples besides taking a quick peek from the outside looking in since I held the firm belief that all these temples held no separation from the other, a continuous line of seen this done that. In my last stand before skirting back to the hostel to meet my friend and confidant intimately in the dungeon darkness of the basement (i.e. the toilet), I lingered long enough at a working temple complex to sacrifice the necessary kip to properly enter its doors. The temples in general had the same outfit with bird-like silhouettes reaching out over the edges of each layer in its rectangular form but these had design, character, and personality. I hate to continue using the same image as I have done previously to describe artwork of another world and mindset but this place fit the bill. The artistic design reminded me of Mr. Gaudi, a psychotic genius that cared not what others thought of his curiously imagined designs. The outsides of the temples drew up stories of Buddhist culture but did so with the tiniest of ceramic tile work that you have no choice but to appreciate from the time committed for such an achievement. The shiny specks of ceramic glass unveiled Buddha at his various states of life, epic battles involving the gruesome natured demons, and a large tree of life. Although these images could easily be glanced at for a moment’s notice before continuing on, I had to focus harder, more purposefully to get a grasp on what the artist meant to achieve. Maybe the art is simple and needs no further thought but the mismatch of colors held in unison to form its penultimate reason surely breeds more. In a hurry I made my way back to the hostel to the chosen corner of the building I have sadly grown to know too well. My mind, body, and spirit has been depleted and I am in desperate need of some sort of boost. Even though I know I am not dying and realize that I have so much more left to give, I do feel like I am crumbling and soon enough in a poof of wind I will be whisked away (actually some wind would be nice right now and please send over a downpour of rain and hell why not a snowstorm while we are at it?). In the early evening I got my tuk-tuk pickup to the bus station where I rode in the overnight sleeper bus to Vientiane. Even though I was on the upper level and had no one else squeezed up against me it still felt tight but then again these buses where designed for slighter, more Asian built bodies. Each seat in front reclined to a level fit enough for the next passenger behind to wedge his or her feet below. Sweet dreams indeed.
Now in Laos Day 204: My Body Has Given Up On Me