Luang Prabang, Lao Peoples Dem Rep
As today was one of the main festival days we decided to camp out at the Scandinavian Bakery half way up the main street As it turned out a wise move on two fronts, it was elevated and it offered some protection from the water carnage that was to follow. By about 2pm the water fights had turned into an mass soaking with thousands of people both Lao and foreigners completely drenched. Water stations were set up outside bars and shops to refuel those who needed a water pistol refill.
Today bought a new twist as instead of just water and flour, poster paint was added to the ammunition as was soot from the bottom of woks. Unbelievable madness and huge fun. We stayed relatively dry (30%) and were able to watch the parade. It was both amazing and moving as Miss Lao led a procession of Nagas and spirits though the streets and the Prabang Buddha moved from Wat Mai to Wat Xieng Tien to be washed. It stays there overnight before returning the next day. For dinner we tried the 3 Nagas Lao restaurant across the road which was excellent. Some observations on Lao food. Lao food is simpler than Thai, just as spicy and in some ways even fresher. They use many of the same ingredients but rely less on curry’s and use more salads and raw ingredients (including raw water buffalo tartare for the more adventurous). They also use dog, cat, bat etc but you won’t find these too frequently on tourist menus. I did see pounded frog flesh and chili but who knows that could have been a comment on their former colonial masters. Laap (Larb) is a wonderful warm salad made of minced, cooked (or raw) chicken, pork, water buffalo or unspecified meat mixed with lemon grass, shallot, chili, lots of fresh herbs and lemon. Truly brilliant.