Nagas, the Fire Serpents of the Mekong

Some Laotian and Thai people believe that serpent-like creatures (nagas) inhabit the chocolate-colored waters of the Mekong River. In Lao mythology, nagas protect Laos’ capital city, Vientiane, and beyond. These snake-like creatures also adorn many nooks and crannies of Laos’ jewel city, Luang Prabang. Some followers of Buddhism even attribute mysterious fireball-like projectiles to theContinue reading “Nagas, the Fire Serpents of the Mekong”

A Morning Almsgiving or Tak Bat Ceremony in Phonsavan, Laos

In Laos, as in other countries that practice Theravada Buddhism, it is customary for monks to go on early morning alms runs, known as tak bat. They do so with alms-bowls in hand, donning their traditional saffron robes and pounding the pavement or dirt roads with bare feet. Devotees place food — such as balls ofContinue reading “A Morning Almsgiving or Tak Bat Ceremony in Phonsavan, Laos”

Twinkle, Twinkle Wat Xieng Thong – Luang Prabang, Laos

In the late afternoon sunlight, the small shrine’s mosaic-adorned walls shimmered like precious gems. As I shifted my footing and perspective — moving only mere inches at a time — different vignettes were illuminated by the vibrant rays. This Buddhist shrine, on which the cut glass portrays Buddhist imagery, is one of twenty structures inContinue reading “Twinkle, Twinkle Wat Xieng Thong – Luang Prabang, Laos”

The Enduring Buddha at War-Ravaged Wat Phia Wat, Laos

Wat Phia Wat and its focal point — a war-scarred Buddha statue — are located in Muang Khoun, only 30 kilometers from Phonsavan, Laos. Muang Khoun was previously the region’s capital city, but all that remains of the capital today are the fragments of Wat Phia Wat, as well as a few stupas. Given ruggedContinue reading “The Enduring Buddha at War-Ravaged Wat Phia Wat, Laos”

Learning the Fine Art of Sericulture & Weaving on a Cambodian Silk Farm

“With time and patience the mulberry leaf becomes a silk gown.” Proverb Throughout Cambodia, marketplace stalls overflow with mounds of beautiful shimmering silk. There’s everything from scarves and chic purses, to fabric designed for tailor-making shirts, dresses, and jackets. As someone who is often tempted by these lovely accessories, I was eager to learn moreContinue reading “Learning the Fine Art of Sericulture & Weaving on a Cambodian Silk Farm”

Photo Du Jour: Little Boy Distracted During Prayer at Bangkok’s Golden Mount

While his father prays at Bangkok’s Golden Mount, a young boy is seemingly distracted by an enticing bottle of red soda. 

Backstage at Balinese Dance Class

In Jimbaran, Bali, we had the great fortune to have been befriended by a local named Mariana. Along with his extended family, Mariana exposed us to rich aspects of Balinese culture – everything from his nephew’s 42-day ceremony, to full moon celebrations at a neighborhood temple, to Prana Shakti practice, to traditional Balinese dance. MarianaContinue reading “Backstage at Balinese Dance Class”