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Photo by Sampor Burke, Mekong Semester.

The Lights in Luang Prabang

Once the clean blue water from the waterfalls had dried from our bodies and the sun had started to set, we got ready for the lights. The moonlight, the artificial light, the light shining from people’s hearts and glimmering in their eyes, which usually follows with a kind smile. All the lights coming from a unique place, beckoning through the dark.

Walking through the city, the lights begin to connect: the moon with the water, the shadows passing through each other, all the night market stalls battling to attract potential buyers. All the other senses follow the lights: the smell of coffee, fruits and recently baked goods; the sound of bargains, music and communication in several different languages; the sight of tuk tuks going back and forth, incredible handcrafted local products and the countless tourists taking pictures, hoping it’s going to be good enough for posting on any social media; the remarkable feeling of walking by yourself in silence and not being lonely or having the momentary insecurity that pushes you to “need” to talk and be part of a conversation with others so you don’t feel left out.

The light in this special place doesn’t overwhelm the darkness but shines in extraordinary balance, integrating itself in the environment and embracing us with joyful life.