For some strange reason, probably associated with drinking Beer Lao on ice, I am having a hard time pronouncing the names of the cities around Laos which itself is pronounced “Lao” not “Laos”as it is spelt.
Not that my lack of correct Lao will get me into too much trouble, I still take a stab at it by practicing with the desk clerk before leaving Manay Villa. For now, all I need to know is for us to wait outside and a bus will take us somewhere five hours from here, Luang Prabang.
At about the mid-point of our journey we stop for a bathroom break and lunch. After enjoying white rice covered with steamed green leafy vegetables, I am touched in a way that fills my heart with joy. At a table across from us sits a little girl eating and doing school work.
As we are being rounded up back onto the bus, leaving my table she flashes us what I have always known as the peace sign. I confess to not knowing the meaning or significance of it in Laos but her gesture makes me smile. I wish for her that her life will only know peace and the joy it can bring.
The low hanging gray clouds that produces the rain gives the landscape an ominous beauty which does not last too long as the sun gradually reshapes it in its own way.
Sitting at the back of the bus, I can smell the burning brakes and rubber as the bus driver maneuvers us down one more of hopefully not too many downhill portions of this long road. At times, I peek out my open window and lose sight of the road below us.
It is a road with many a winding turn that leads us to we know where but I just cannot say it.
I admire the driver's skills even more and feel like he is not heavy but my brother especially when he safely brings the bus to stop just outside of the town I am still having a hard time pronouncing.
Time for another Beer Lao on ice, maybe that will help.