Sunday, October 11, 2009
About the Buddhas
A recent post featured what may be my favorite photo from my travels.
Rows of stone buddhas sit cross-legged, eyes closed, hands draped, ears sagging, hair knotted. In front of them, a row of stone basins, two painted yellow and red.
The shot was taken close to exactly three years ago on the grounds of Wat Sainyaphum in Savannakhet, Laos.
I went into detail about my hike through the region's protected forest and a visit to the holy stupa in my piece at TheExpeditioner, Slowing Down in Savannakhet.
But three years later, it's the city itself I remember most vividly:
* The sky was gray. No shadows. It rained.
* The hostel I'd booked faced the Mekong. The day I got there, the entire riverside was covered in festival. Longboats raced against the current, groups of kids with American death-metal t-shirts played carnival games, sweet egg bread fried on portable griddles.
* At night I drank big bottles of Beer Lao on the hostel roof. A caged bird screamed. Down on the street, people sorted through the festival garbage. I looked at the river current, and across it to the lights of a Thai city.
* The wats were quiet, the buddhas carefully arranged.
* There wasn't a lot to do. I didn't mind.