A colourful postcard on top of the silver salver of post catches my eye. It’s from our roving reporter Katie. While we batten down the hatches her Dunlop Volleys are boldly following in the footsteps of Eastern potentates, to wit the ancient Kingdom of Laos – a world away from Dawdle Hall.
Sporting a battered straw hat and looking like a latter day Huckleberry Finn she has been exploring ancient Luang Prabang – which very roughly translates as Face of the Royal Buddha. Up until the communist takeover in 1975 it was the royal capital and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Although I must confess I was ignorant of its existance until it was brought to my attention by our very own “Indiana” Katie, it sounds fascinating. Lying on a spur of land between two mighty rivers the Mekong and Nam Khan, it is flush with exotic temples (see the picture above). Apparently hundreds of monks in saffron robes take to the streets every day. It’s a ritual whereby locals offer them “alms” of fresh sticky rice to bring good fortune on their families. Read on to enjoy Katie’s report.
“My latest postcard from the edge of the world takes in the mystical, magical kingdom of Laos. This landlocked gem is encircled by Burma, China, Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand. Once run by the French it is now a communist state, but with a deep Buddhist spiritual tradition. Hungry for peace and tranquility my partner and I headed for Luang Prabang, the former royal capital and now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Where better than to rest our weary bones than the historic Satri House, built at the turn of the century for Prince Soupha-nouvong. It even has a library! The Lonely planet guide to Laos is available to read in English, French, German… and even a decanter for a wee dram on chilly nights. And if the sherry doesn’t work its warmth there’s always the log fire and time to settle down for a game of chess. From here we ventured forth to enjoy exotica such as The Haw Kham Royal Palace Museum and the Wat Xieng Thong temple. There are also some wonderful old French provincial style houses. Natural wonders include waterfalls, caves and elephants. A local delicacy to be sampled too is the fried Mekong River moss. Every morning hundreds of monks wearing saffron robes take to the streets. It’s a ritual whereby locals offer “alms” of fresh sticky rice to bring good fortune on their families. An amazing sight. Pictured above are monks, me, what? – a Wat!, and Satri House (three). The people are wonderful, gentle and kind. A beautiful backwater. The perfect retreat. Ohm, peace, peace! xxx”
“Ahoy there Dawdle Hall! I am writing this postcard for Katie’s Corner after a super wavy trip from Adelaide to Perth across The Great Australian Bight. Many of Queen Mary 2’s subjects were sick. Not I! And, having enjoyed being kitted out for the obligatory lifejacket test, I headed to the most “buffeted” part of HER Royal Highness; the upper deck 8 forward, where the wood-panelled, glass-fronted library forges ahead literally, its 8,000 volumes straight-backed and proud on this stately galleon. I enjoyed Proust on the plimsoll line, oh and fillet steak and a jolly good glass of red later that night, Can’t keep a swell old girl down. Where were you Horatio? At the Captain’s table with Lady Dawdle, no doubt? In spirit anyway. Full steam ahead! More anon Love to all whimsical dawdlers, Katie”
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