This is where I share a mix of my illustration and a touch of pretty things and places I've discovered in my day.

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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Backpacking sketchbook 5: Almost like Christmas in Laos

The festival of lights arrived. The first time we strolled into a temple yard filled with paper lanterns we were filled with wonder. Really wonderful wonder. It was the first moment after our terrible ordeal that another positive emotion took over. I know I didn't write about the ordeal - but basicaly we - well our two travelling companions - were targeted as tourists by corrupt police and it was hectic and horrible. I will just say this DO NOT go to Vang Vieng.

Annyhow the festival of lights was busy, noisy and visually amazing. I have never seen so much life in Luang Prabang - If I closed my eyes it almost felt as if I was back in a nightmarket in Taiwan. We followed the crowds and hung out at the temple were the brightly lit and ornate handmade boats were finished off, carried down to the river - accompanied by loud chanting and drums and being send forth on the Mekong.

We watched many lanterns being lit and released into the air and by releasing the lanterns we secretly asked that all our worries will be over and set free into the night sky. We almost lost our ears to kids being totally irresponsible with firecrackers and finally settled down at the nicest bar next to the river for a well deserved bottle or two of red wine. Bidding Luang Prabang farewell along with saying a sad goodbye to our friends who had to stay for an unknown period of time.

My advice for the New Year: Believe in that lantern and let the worries go!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Backpacking sketchbook 4: Luang Prabang...we linger.

If you love Art Deco, window shutters and wood this will warm your heart! It certainly warmed mine as we lazily walked around, when the heat allowed it, taking pictures and admiring the buildings. We also rented bicycles and cycled around town stopping at the market, shops and little restaurants for a bit of drawing and reading, a Beer Lao here and there as well as meals and snacks.

Luang Prabang was vibey - there were all kinds of preparations happening for the upcoming festival - paper lanterns were being made and hung up. Paper and bamboo boats were being built and you could feel the excitement in the air. When it was too hot to be out and about we hung out on the balcony of our guesthouse listening to tunes, and late at night when the curfew set in (yes at 12:00pm in Lao you have to check in at your guesthouse) we drank wine on the little private stoepie at the back of our guesthouse quietly sharing our lives, laughing, crying a bit and catching up as you do with good friends living far apart.