Before we left Luang Prabang, we participated in one more local ritual. We got up at 5:30am and we were on the street at 6am, just in time to give scoops of cooked rice to the monks as they passed by us with their bowls ready to accept our offerings.
There must have been a hundred or so Monks and 200-300 individuals giving them the rice. Many of those making the rice gifts were tourist, but many were locals. This ritual occurs every morning at 6am and it is these gifts of rice and some assorted fruits that sustain the Monks.
Interestingly, the Monks ranged in age from 50 to as young as 10-12 years of age. The Monks rise at 4:30am, do their chores; collect this rice; have breakfast and then begin their studies. They break for lunch; go back to studying and end their day with meditation. They have no dinner, but go to bed early so as to rise again at 4:30am.
While some men stay in the Monastery all of their lives, most only remain for 5-15 years and then go back to civilian life. While in the Monastery they must remain celebrate, but free to marry when they leave.
This ends the adventure part of our trip. We're now off to Phuket for 3 days of R&R before we return to California.