It was interesting hearing your thoughts on my post about (not) giving alms in Luang Prabang. I’m glad to know I’m not the only one horrified by paparazzi-like tourists.
This little story didn’t seem to fit in that post, but it still makes me chuckle so I’ll share it now.
While at the ceremony we also enjoyed people watching a family with two boys (maybe 5 and 7?). Not only were the boys running around and fighting with each other, they were also going after their guide. The guide was polite but you could tell he was ready for the onslaught to stop. It was not play fighting people. Eventually each parent picked a child to quickly chastise. Then, the monks came. The boys ceremoniously dropped a few bills into the offering bowls while their mother beamed with pride… from behind her camera… that was in the monk’s face. I’m sure traveling with kids is tricky but it was comical to watch the precursor to the photo op that portrays the kids as thoughtful mini-Buddhists.
Sidenote: Guidelines we read about alms giving said that if you want a photo of yourself giving alms, you’re not participating for the right reasons and probably shouldn’t.
So in an effort to do more than just complain I thought I’d post some of the helpful information we found while in Luang Prabang, and highlight the especially interesting bits.
1. “Luang Prabang is not Ibiza! Nor is it Vang Vieng…” – You’d think it would be obvious.
2. “Always dress modestly in the city.” – I’m a pro at modest dress now and it drives me nuts to see people dressed inappropriately. It’s really not difficult to cover your shoulders, thighs, and decolletage.
3. “…this is not Thailand; there is no sex industry and you can only legally have sex with a local if you marry them.” – This line really stood out to me. I sometimes forget that some countries (like the one I’ve been living in) legislate sex to a greater extent than others. Plus, they totally called out Thailand!
4. “Don’t treat the monks like monkeys in a zoo.” – Well said.