Small change – big impact

After I’ve been learning, practising and enjoying motorbiking for a few months, it was time for a change – time for a bicycle. This choice immediately converted me from one of the many motorbikers in Pakse into one of the few cyclists in town. Unexpectedly, it also gives me every day spontaneous sympathy and smiles from people along the road. The slower pace allows to see each other’s faces, vistas can meet, no helmet separating us. It gives me more time to see things, I can stop quicker, stop at new places. Such as at the small grocery shop I’ve never been to before. An older man welcomes me, the woman is kneeling and preparing a fish at the entrance. It feels a little bit like entering into their house. I am looking for offerings for the monks of the temple I use to go, Vat Luang. Tomorrow early in the morning celebrations will take place, it is the start of the three-months Buddhist lent. While I am buying a few things, we get into a conversation. Though I try to speak my basic Lao at its best, I give in to join on a French conversation. Proud, the man with the grand daughter in his arms, tells me that he speaks five languages and then I discover a small panel that says “Translations – Vietnamese, English, French…” and that he has been here during the revolution, I shall come again to continue our conversation.

Alms for the monks - Vat Luang

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