Thank you Van for tagging us in your post and thank you for sharing your amazing story about your family and your success. We look forward to reading the full article. ❤️
Thank you @andrewtyrrellnelson
for sharing the story of our family, of Bida Manda, and of our scared home, Luang Prabang, in @natgeotravel
this month! Often travel writing is overly romantic, colonizes the subject and the community it intends to advocate for. I’m grateful for your honesty, your curiosity, and your courage to tell a complex story of a place and its people in its wholeness.
Friends, if you are curious to read, the magazine should be at many magazine stands around the country. The online version will be available soon. Here’s an exert from Andrew’s time in Laos.
I locate my friend Van at Satri House, a former colonial mansion revived as a boutique hotel. He’s in the courtyard, dangling his legs in the pool. “Do you like it here?” he asks as a bottle of chilled rosé appears. I do. Furnished with antiques, the 28-room property exudes serenity and lost grandeur. As if on cue, a buttercream-colored Rolls-Royce glides past on the street beyond, with an elegant, white-haired Laotian woman seated in back. Who is she? Where is she going? There are mysteries in Luang Prabang. And, I come to learn, ghosts.
“My grandmother was named Mae Tao,” Van tells me. “Growing up in Luang Prabang, I tended the family flower garden with her. She taught me that each flower had a life and person- ality, and how to cut, clean, and arrange each bloom in a certain manner,” he says. “‘You are from Luang Prabang,’ she liked to say. ‘You should care about small details—they’re sacred.’”
That attention to the little things would sustain Van, who grew up in this neighborhood, in a small house in another time in a different Laos. The years following the American War (the Laotian term for the Vietnam War) brought turmoil to Luang Prabang. In 1975 the monarchy was overthrown, and Laos became a communist state.
#thankyouvansana #bidamanda #familystories #familyhistory #laoshistory #luangprabanglove #satrihouse