In our introduction we talk about how Peter first learned about Sinxay.
I clearly remember the first time I heard about Sinxay. I was in Laos with my wife, visiting her parents in BanNa Ang, the small village where she grew up. Located in the Muang Fuang district, in the northwestern part of Vientiane Province, this area is known for its spectacular karst formations. One afternoon, we visited her aunt in the neighboring village of Ban Non. In the early evening, walking back on the dirt road connecting the two villages, we stopped to gaze where the sun was setting over the rocky limestone cliffs, serving as a backdrop to a patchwork of village rice paddies. While we were enjoying the sunset, Bai pointed to where a section of rock seemed to be missing. She told me that according to a local legend, it had been knocked out during a battle between a famous Lao epic hero, named Sinxay, and an evil ogre, named Nyak Koumphan.
Above you can see the karst section as I first gazed at it during that beautiful sunset. Below is an illustration by Khamla Phanyasith drawing how I might have imagined Sinxay battling Nyak Koumphan and you can see how the power of Sinxay’s sword deflected off of Koumphan and obliterated that section of the limestone cliffs.
This area is equally beautiful during the day and below is a shot of the “missing section” taken during the day during the wet season when rice is being planted. Unfortunately, from an aesthetic sense, this bucolic scene now has power lines running through it. Of course the villages need, want and are extremely happy to have electricity, but it came at a cost of having many beautiful, old tall trees cut down in the village and the erection of massive power lines.