Luang Prabang is a UNESCO heritage city, surrounded by mountains in Northern Laos. The landscape in a sharp contrast to the flatness of the lower parts of Laos. T and I spent Pi Mai there, which is the Lao New Year holiday.

The most noticeable thing involved with Pi Mai is the throwing of water on people. Groups gather together on the street and arm themselves with hoses, water pistols, garbage bins, buckets and ladels (that suspiciously look like the ones used to pour water into squat toilets to flush them). Popular targets are Tuk Tuks (motorcycle taxis), motorcycles, and anyone walking down the street. The only way you will be immnue is if you’re in an enclosed car, a monk, or quite elderly. However these are still not guarantees that you wont be drenched, though you might not get quite as wet as some.

Other than water, Lao people love to smear charcoal on your face. They get it from their cooking pans so at least it is being recycled. Coloured water is sometimes used too. Flour is another weapon of choice, and it is launced with force at your face or in the back of the head. Walking down the street you can see puffs of white smoke come up off people’s heads as they are hit with flour. The street is littered with individuals drenched from top to bottom, face caked with flour and cheeks smeared with black charcoal. It seems like that tomato festival in Italy, except that Lao people couldn’t afford to waste so many vegetables that way.

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