Tuesday, April 3, 2012

GVI joins the party for Cold River Guesthouse’s re-opening

Our less recent volunteers will remember Cold River Guesthouse well – a lovely property a little out of the town centre of Luang Prabang, overlooking the banks of the Khan River, and the wonderful, warm family who ran it. 

The Buddhist basi ceremony to bless the guesthouse
In May last year a long-threatened renovation took place meaning GVI had to move out.  We headed to Chansavang Guesthouse – located in the middle of things by an equally lovely and welcoming family.  Joy, Ot and assorted relatives and staff including Xai and Mii have been very kind to GVI volunteers and staff and we thank them for them sincerely for their generosity. 

Some offerings for the ceremony
But yesterday was all about Cold River!  GVI volunteers, along with half of Luang Prabang it seemed, joined novices and monks from surrounding temples to bless the new building, the family and their future guests.  It was longer than any basi (blessing ceremony) I have yet attended, fascinating in its traditions and rituals – chanting, spoken blessings, rice confetti (and folded money!), water blessings splashed over participants, lavish offerings  and a feast for the Buddhist monks and novices.   An all day celebration took place following the basi - a massive party was held, replete with a band, karaoke, dancing, and more food and Beer Lao than one can fathom! 
GVI Volunteer Louisa dressed for the occasion

Even though the current volunteers don’t have any connection to the Cold River family they were warmly welcomed and fed till they could eat no more, showing once again just how respected and appreciated GVI is in Luang Prabang.

Then - when demolition started last year
Now - the new frontage at Cold River
As yet plans for relocation are not certain but either way something that is certain is that Cold River will continue to attract foreign guests and GVI will maintain a close relationship with the owners.  So if you’re looking for a place to stay while in LPB (before or after a project for example), this is a great option!