Mention "Luang Prabang" and most people immediately think of saffron-robed monks walking the streets, collecting (I'd rather not use the word "begging") alms. Indeed, even at the arrival area of the airport, there are notices posted all over about what the alms ceremony is about and how tourists should behave.
Unfortunately, some people insist on behaving badly.
: Please note that the alms giving ceremony is one which, while picturesque, is not without its detractors. Unscrupulous local merchants have used the eagerness of tourists to participate in a local tradition as a means of making easy money, and sometimes sell unsuitable, stale and even unsafe food. This has resulted in monks falling ill after having consumed the offerings, and resistance to continuing the tradition. So if you wish to participate in this ceremony, prepare the food or fruit yourself, and avoid giving food of unknown quality. Another problem is the photographing. While it looks nice in your collection, think about how it must feel for the monks to have hundreds of tourists photographing them every day. Some lowlifes even stand right next to them, flashing them in the eyes! Strongly consider only watching this old tradition from a distance instead of using it as a tourist attraction, as this may detract from the beauty of the ritual - both for locals and tourists alike.
Let me tell you, those monks walk really fast. So many of my photos are kind of blurry, but I have decided to set my frustration aside and embrace the blurriness! Thank gad for Picassa.
|Cross Process effect|
How did I manage to get so close and how did I avoid the hordes of tourists who were stalking the monks, you ask?
Well, this was the view from my room's balcony, every morning at 5:30AM.
Also, I discovered how to use zoom.
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