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5 days in Laos

JANUARY 30, 2013
Laos had never been on my list of places to visit. Yet there we were, my wife, our three children, and my parents-in-law, flying from Hong Kong to Luang Prabang via Bangkok.
Luang Prabang sits high up on the banks at the confluence of the Mekong and Nam Khan rivers in the midst of the jungle in northern Laos. The Mekong river is wide and full of activity. The long stairs that led down the river bank to the boat launches provided me with all the things that I love to sketch.
Luang Prabang is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, an important center of Buddhist worship with many active monasteries, and has an old town with restored French colonial homes.
The old town was distinctly southeast-Asian, and also felt to me like a sleepy French village with elements of Berkeley, California mixed in. The Lao and French food were terrific. I didn't expect this!
Monks ferrying across the river after receiving their morning alms.

View of a monastery from the French bakery.
Some of our favorite things in Luang Prabang:
- The smell of woodsmoke from cooking fires.
- Watching the processions of monks receiving their morning alms.
- Riding elephants.
- Taking a cooking class and eating fresh spring rolls.
- Walking through the night market.
- The tarte aux pommes, crepes and coffee at the French bakery.
- Riding a boat on the Mekong river.
Above are three sketches of the river in the morning, at midday, and at sunset.
The sun was very bright at midday with temperatures near 80 degrees.
Sunset on the Mekong river on our last evening in Luang Prabang. We all had a wonderfully memorable vacation, and I hope we'll return someday.
Topical: Hong Kong sketches