A religious procession with a difference. Monks on their way, Laos style Surreal outlines are often yielded... ...by the robe acting as a sun shield Monks are ubiquitous in Laos - the splash of their bright saffron robes forming part of the intense light; an intensity of light that the automatic exposure on cameras tends to down-play. The snapshots on this page are mostly from Luang Prabang in the north of the country. Young men in Laos may choose a time in a monastery as a form of national service and so many 'contemplatives' are seen; but they are not all engaged in peaceful reflection, as the sequence lower down the page amusingly illustrates. Monk watches girl watching girl watching... Catching fruit from a tree... ...on their way down to the river... ...which has a cafe on its banks Above, the rider holds the umbrella while the passenger peers round at me... ...while here the passenger holds the umbrella (more effectively) over the head of the cyclist Usually poles and cables are best cropped out, but here the insistence of the framing, and the general capture of the scene, asks that they stay. The westerner as pillion, the roadside businesses, and the air of dusty heat all provide context for the monks But monks do also walk. Despite their simple attire they ... ...manage to exhibit surprising variations on the theme Tourism meets Buddhism. For a real elephant see the last page Posing with mug Not posing A quiet street in the beautiful town of Luang Prabang - again monks and tourists. A little unexpectedly the green cup he holds seems an exact compliment to his orange robe Perambulating monks The courtyard of a monastery where the... ...sequence of pictures below was observed Monks at leisure in the monastery courtyard However, something seems to have attracted attention Undiplomatic words being exchanged... ...and some rather un-monkish behaviour ensues A stand off... ...and apparent apology... ...seems to result in contrition The photographer is noticed... ...and the body language becomes relaxed and fluid A more contemplative pose Trailers... The next page of this section moves from monks in Laos to the Linh Phước Pagoda in southern Vietnam. The next page of the Mosaic Section is headed 'Mirror Neurons'.
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