We took a two hour motorized long-boat ride up the Mekong this morning.  The first destination was an enormous cave dripped and carved out by the monsoon waters.  High water mark in 2008 was 60 feet above the river today.

Cave Art, Mekong River, Luang Prabang, Laos

Originally the home of prehistoric animist rituals it’s become over the years a place where royalty and commoner come to leave statues of Buddha, supplicating for luck, rain, good harvest….

Laos Cave Buddha, Luang Prabang, Laos

Further up river we stopped at a village of some  35 homes where the women do beautiful weaving in silk and cotton

Lao Village on the Mekong above Luang Prabang

and, by the way, brew out some wicked rice moonshine.

White Rice Moonshine at River Village, Luang Prabang, Laos

Over and over again we were impressed that we westerners have not really seen hard work in generations.  This river gold panning was the least exhausting of much of the work we saw going on.

Gold Panning on the Mekong, Luang Prabang, Laos

But of course, as we all know, it’s not the destination but the journey and the river was the way and the way was the river.
All best
Will