National Geographic : 1961 Aug
(101/2 gallons). Five kip was only about six cents, but some families lived on 50 kip a day. Anyway, that water was for the Chinese and Vietnamese, who had the good stores and the good jobs. The poorer Lao went to the Mekong for his bath, and his wife would fetch the cooking water herself. There was nothing frightening about being poor. Rice, vegetables, and bits of meat were cheap. And couldn't a young couple always find a bit of land to build a house of wood and bamboo, with the help of relatives? Brothers and uncles and countless cousins 252 would help in any need, for family loyalty was the first loyalty. In town as in village, no body was ever alone. Bonzes were everywhere. At six in the morning women swept before their houses with short grass brooms. Then they knelt, and when the bonzes walked by, each woman put a bit of rice from her bamboo box into each bonze's black bowl (page 257). I won dered how a man got enough to eat that way. So I followed the long saffron line and saw that after 25 minutes each basketball-sized bowl was full.