vendredi 23 mai 2008

Cultural shock

This morning I woke up early to go and earn my "merit" by giving alms to the monks. This is a common way for locals and tourists alike to contribute to the nourishment of monks and novices. It all happens exactly at 5:30 in the morning. The drum resonates throughout the town and monks start parading around. Everybody willing to contribute can buy some rice from the local fresh product market and give it to them. It is a wonderful experience, and the only moment of the day monks and lay people get in touch. So I did not want to miss it.

I went then to the local market to have breakfast. And I got the strongest cultural shock since I came here. Many different species of animals where on sale, some of them simply disgusting, like bats, rats, some of them part of endangered species, like enormous lizards and the head of a huge selvatic cat...

Shocked, I had to seat in the shade from the morning light just outside of the market. A local woman, sitting not far, started to talk to me in fluent French (do I look like a French? I am Italian!!!) and explained that those animals are illegal even il Laos. Despite that, she added, many people from the countryside are so used to eating strange wild beasts that poachers shamelessly keep hunting them. And that tigers are very renowned as well for tribal medical treatment. The police does not perform any kind of control on this, because, she made me notice, like if I hadn't, we are in Laos and here even the enforcement of law is very relaxed. "We have our Lao-style Communism here." she said, before smiling at me and walking away...

Just two days before I had discovered that one of the last tiger in Indochina had been found dead. Just a few kilometers out of Luang Prabang...

I wanted to forget. There are aspects of Laos, and of Indochina, that I really don't like. Eating endagered species is one of them. So I went for a refreshing swim in the Nam Khan river, between fishermen and joyful children.

Then I spent a few hours strolling around the many temples of Luang Prabang and meeting monks.

Tomorrow a seven-hours boat will take me to Nong Khiaw and Muang Ngoi Neua, in the far north. New adventures to come!

2 commentaires:

Jean-Christophe a dit…

Hello Carlo,

I know it is not the right place for asking about work, but i am looking a laptop PC for a project "Textron", do you remember this laptop, it was in the cupboard next to the window in the room you were working, we can't find it anymore ;(

Do you have any idea where it could be ?

Thanks a lot, have fun
Christophe from STERIA ...

Valentino a dit…

Ciao Carlo,

mi sono sbagliato... ovviamente non volevo pubblicare un post ma un commento... non ci far caso. Ora ho capito a che serve questa scritta incomprensibile qui sotto!!
Comunque a parte questo, mentre leggevo i post avevo l'impressione di aver già visto quelle storie... ma non ricordavo dove... poi ti sei firmato con il nome Indiana Pipps. Sei lui !!(potrebbe non essere proprio un complimento)...

I ponteggi dei cantieri fatti con le canne di bambù sono incredibili vero? Io però ci girerei alla larga :)
Per il piede fatti massaggiare da qualche indigena; lì dovrebbero essere dei maestri/e.

Io se vedo qualche atleta te lo saluto (anche se non ne vedo da più tempo di te)

A presto,