Laos, Old Kingdom, Past and PresentBy: Heinz Rainer
Mist shrouded mountains surround the village in the morning, a slight chill is in the air. During the day temperatures reach to the 40 C centigrade. I sip a cup of "Lao" coffee, and enter a second.
The French left their legacies in form of "Cafe aux lait", milk coffee, and an added surprise, baguette (French white bread for those who are unfamiliar with the word).
Sitting on the Veranda I order a Vegan baguette, it comes with a variety of garden fresh vegetables. Amazingly good, served by the proprietress of the guesthouse I live, the hearty smile adds to the beauty of the morning.
The sun rises, with it comes the heat. The jungle surrounding us is now steaming. I rent a bike for the day, and set off to my discovered place, "MY" private jungle pool, a few miles from where I lodge.
A cave that was discovered long ago, a Buddhist temple adjacent; the hermit Buddhist monk who passed away years ago, his skull has been placed into the cave for those who want to admire it.
Small paradise in a foreign land, amidst of lush tropical foliage. The daily plunge becomes a ritual, an experience that leaves me refreshed and invigorated. My thoughts wander to Hungary, Budapest where I Spa in a five star property. In stark contrast to the daily underwater massages, the mud packages, the Bio Sauna, here I have it all, and for nothing. I would not exchange with Acapulco, nor with Biarritz at this moment.
Tiny fish swim curiously around me, the bottom is a few meters deep, and I set out to explore the cave underground. Deep from inside the mountain the spring has its beginning, and rushes out in powerful force. Difficult to overcome its current, swimming against is difficult. I manage into the dark, unknown cave, grabbing on the rocks that protrude from the side.
Not being exactly a cave explorer I return when it gets darker. You never know what you may encounter here.
Many years in Africa have taught me many lessons, and one them is not to take unnecessary risks. Challenging nature is unwise, in any form. I enjoy the sight and return to my fishes companions, who are playing in the current.
I could stay the whole day here, enjoying the wonder of god's creation, for it is nothing less than a wonder. So I lay back, float in the pool till lunch time. I notice by then that my body temperature must have dropped significantly. I step out finally sit on a wooden bench nearby the cave, and drench myself in the sun.
I cycle back between rice paddies, Farmers waving friendly towards me, standing knee high in paddies. Water buffalos plough the fields, a unforgettable scene.
In another episode : Laos with its many surprises ....
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