Bai was helping plant rice in one of her parent's rice paddies about three weeks ago and took the time to photograph this rainbow arching over one of the limestone karsts that surrounds Ban Na Ang. Isn't it beautiful! One Lao phrase describing a rainbow is "Ngeuak gin nam," which in English means "the ngeuak is drinking water."
Ngeuaks are a mythical/real water serpent and Patricia Cheesman writes that "“The serpent is the oldest symbol known to have been a totem of the ancestors of the Lao-Tai peoples and was shared by the Chinese in the Yangtze River basin over 6000 years ago. Whereas the Chinese told of the male serpent hunder god controlling rain, storm, earthquake, and flood, the Lao talked of their mother ngueak, a serpent goddess that had a human face and could turn into a human at will. She had the same powers over water, a crucial resource for growing rice and the source of life force and well-being of the people. The serpents guarded the treasures of the earth, living in caverns full of gems and crystal water and often ventured into the realm of humans, seducing and procreating with them. They are loved as ancestors of the Lao-Tai peoples in myths and legends. In the textiles these serpents are shown with colorful crests, bodies that curve into ‘w’, ‘v’ or ‘s’ shapes and appear to be spiraling in a criss-cross game or passing from one realm to another in procession. The crested serpent is the active, aroused form of the serpent mother."