Posted by: facetothewind | January 19, 2010

Puke Experiences

Still been trying to shake the shits. Was able to eat today and get out of the dingy hotel room – wehoo! But still seem to have a little evening fever and the hot water in the shower is helpful. Now Sebastian is coming down with a cold. Christ – I’ve been sick half this trip now.

Sebby and I walked across the Nam Khan river today on a bamboo bridge to a little village. We shot this novice in both black and white and color. There are rare times when B&W just won’t do, sorry Ansel. Novices and monks just look better in color for the obvious reasons of their saffron and yellow robes. While Sebby wandered the monastery, I sat under a tree admiring the beautiful old wood house where the novices live. My philosophy is that if you sit long enough, the imagery available will improve as your awareness of your environment heightens. So I sat there and hoped that a novice would come to the window. Lo and behold a novice appeared in the frame.

He scowled at me. I smiled. His face wouldn’t change. I kept smiling and then asked him his name in Lao, “Chow soo yung?” He told me his name, still scowling. I said my name was David, which he repeated as “Davist.” Finally his grim face softened. I continued smiling and snapping shots, switching from B&W to color and when he finally broke a smile I saw that he had some odd teeth – one that grew diagonally in the front. This explained why he probably won’t smile much. But the cat eyes make up for his imperfect smile…

Sunday before the Lao food surprise that left me retching, we took a walk with our novice friends from Wat Senesoukarahm to a little pottery village on the other side of the Mekong. This woman is renowned in her village for her good cooking. She and her family live among the ashes from the underground kiln they use to fire the pots and bricks they make from the clay at their pond. She was making a wokked omelet with eggs from the ubiquitous chickens that wander about and some greens from the garden they keep on the banks of the Mekong…which they hand water with a can.

Sebby and I are having a cave evening in the hotel just listening to Brahms and longing for Western desserts.



  1. Feeling better, yet?

  2. Bad News. Maurice Grossman passed away last night 01/21/10 from complications of minor heart surgery (is there such a thing?).

    Sorry to do this long distance.

    I thought you would want to know.

    No other details yet.

    Sr. Brad

  3. Love the story of the surly monk! You are so brave, to keep smiling at (and photographing) a person who was looking so crossly at you. I’d have fled. Lovely images, lovely turquoise water and butterflies — happy 1st anniversary to you both.
    Your fiancees,
    Gillian & Nic

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