The boat glided easily across the Nam Ou River, the small engine roaring loudly. Fully packed with locals in the front and tourist in the back, we are sitting tight, shoulder to shoulder – no room for movement. The locals had brought all kinds of snacks along – nuts, seeds, chocolate bars – although the journey was only an hour long.
Across from me, a young woman was caressing her baby. It showed an intent interest in us, staring with awake eyes at the white “monkeys”. The father, sitting next to his wife, had a sweet face with a deeply caring expression and while the two married people weren’t exchanging pleasantries, the shared love for their child gleamed deeply.
In the front, three monks sat crouching, tightly wrapped in their red and orange woolen robes. It was a cold winter morning with the fog still hanging low over the river. The wind generated by the speed of the boat was blowing harshly. Once the clouds lifted to reveal the sun, the temperature would rise to agreeable 26 degrees. Until then it was a European December morning.
On the riverbank three mysterious monks were climbing onto shore; on the sand dune above, the proud but lazy water buffalo was residing over his empire. Peaceful – life on the river.