Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Travels:Laos. Conversations with a Monk.

Luang Prabang
Day 14
Friday, January 2, 2009.

Last day in Luang Prabang. Feeling better today. Which is a good thing because today is a long day.

We checked out of the guest house at 11am, and wondered around Luang Prabang for the last time. Our flight out with Lao Air is at 8pm, so we had the entire day and more to waste. We left our bags at the guest house and stopped by at a few restaurants along the Nam Khan (river) for lunch and coffee.

By this time, I think husband J and I were ready to go home. We had a week here and there wasn't anywhere that we hadn't seen. So we didn't really have any plans on where to go. I was getting a little restless after lunchtime. This ended up to be a long wait!

We were walking the familiar street near our guest house when J realised we didn't visit the two wats there. Not another wat! I was a bit bored. How different can these wats be, from the hundreds that we've seen?? J insisted, I relented. I went along, looked for a bit and told J I'll be waiting at the entrance. And so I sat down at the top of the stairs waiting for my husband, while he amused himself with his camera.

A young monk with an orange beanie was walking up and down the grounds holding a book. He came by and started speaking to me in Lao. I gave him the "I-don't-understand" look, and he immediately blushed and asked me in English, where I was from, and if I spoke Thai. He continued to ask if I was waiting for my parents!! *LOL*

This monk I found out as we talked, is a 17 year- old monk-in-training, who has been at the wat since he was 13 years old. His ambition is to follow the footsteps of is older brother - to be a full-fledged monk, and he has another 3 years before becoming one. I had a private and delightful conversation with this young monk, named 'Ek'. His English was commendable, certainly a lot better than most of the Lao folks you meet here. And I told him that. He said they learn English 1 hour a week (on Wednesdays) at the monk high school, but he decided that wasn't enough. And so every lunchtime, he'd rush over to the library to study English on his own. I was so impressed!! I was so taken by this young man, so motivated, so determined! I wished we met sooner!

This could've easily been the highlight of my entire trip - a single conversation with a monk-in-training.

**And I still kick myself for not having a picture with Ek >.< xoxo,