Our life is an apprenticeship to the truth, that around every circle another can be drawn; that there is no end in nature, but every end is a beginning.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Town Day Part 4- The Mighty Mekong!

Okay, so here is my first glimpse of the Mekong! I love just saying the word. It has that wonderful exotic ring to it. I wish I was an NPR reporter so I could end my reports with, This is Peter Pfister, reporting from the MEKONG" the way the woman does from Dakar. It has that certain je ne sais quoi. And it did not disappoint. Looking across this water at the strange upheaval of geology in Laos is everything my childish imagination created when I first penciled in the notion of this land. You can have your 500 million dollar 3D Avatar. It isn't worth a cent against seeing this. And just yesterday I talked to someone who told me of the days when the US Air Force had a base in NKP and did daily forays to drop bombs, the explosions from which were visible where I am standing in the photo. Gone and forgotten by all but a handful of aging locals. The boat! Who hasn't seen a National Geographic or food special with some thin reed of a boat such as the ones in these photos, sliding up an Asian river. I CANNOT leave before I finagle a ride in one on this muddy river. In this case, the young boy was minding the boat while his companions were swimming and wading the banks, driving whatever river life might be hiding there into their nets. The men and women building with bamboo were erecting giant "boats" that will be floated down the river in a few weeks and lit on fire for the biggest celebration of the year for the town. It should be grand, though it undoubtedly will not compare to the Rockland Lobster Festival Parade down main street, and there will be no local school board member dressed up as a pirate brandishing his cutlass and scaring the kids to really put it over the top... Anyhoo, the women were on the bank preparing the bamboo poles and the men were out there barefoot nailing it together. Perfect!


  1. Peter, I spent a year on this river further down stream in 1970/71. We saw it again in 2007 when we went for a visit. These are great picture. Keep it up.

  2. I think about that all the time. Ho Chi Min spent time here in Nakon Phanom and there is a museum where his house was. Part of the draw for me to come was reading Vietnam War Lit and knowing that war shaped my view of the world though I missed fighting in it by a good 8 or so years. I would love to navigate all the way down the river to the end!