the ghosts of luang prabang

we’re in luang prabang, laos – a surprisingly beautiful and elegant little town which has been preserved in the style of crumbling french provincial. elements of former colonial grandeur are still in evidence nearly everywhere – from the sweeping cobblestone streets to the carved balconies overlooking the river. inky black coffee thick enough to coat a spoon and croissant are de rigeur. lingering traces of opulence combine with lush exotica to produce a heady mix. dozens of golden wats stud the skyline while camellia and hibiscus blossoms litter the pavement. rice cakes are set in the sun on bamboo screens to dry while men congregate over games of boules. the ghost of laos royalty wander the quiet alleyways at night and whisper through the palms during the day. these were the boulevards of kings, not so long ago. and luang prabang carries itself with a dignity which lets you know they have not forgotten.

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