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15th Annual Smithsonian Magazine Photo Contest Mobile
Heavenly Sky

This shot was taken January 13, 2016 on the Mekong River near Nam Tin, Laos, close to the Thai border. This miraculous cloud play suddenly appeared while being on a speedboat. My sweetheart and I were traveling in Laos, doing 1 of the 3 things absolutely NOT todo in Laos, especially outlined and emphasized by the Lonely Planet.. We needed to be back in Thailand on time so we decided to ignore the warnings, being on a tight schedule. We booked a small speedboat over the Mekong to take us directly to the Thai border. The boat was overloaded with packed shoppings, a bunch of gas bottles (full!), 4 bag packs, 2 bikes, a skinny Laotian captain, 2 huge German bikers & us.. let me tell you: it was tight! Leaving in the early morning, we learned soon that the warning were correct; this 7-hour-trip is so incredibly dangerous and terribly uncomfortable, it just became funny at a certain point.. You know; knowing that you will NEVER do that again, IF we would make it at all..! All day we were holding on 'till we got cramped, trying to keep the faith, getting tired of constantly bouncing up and down, flying over the water. And then it happened.. we got our sign that all would be well: a burning heart in the sky. This picture symbolizes that moment, where we shifted from the need to feel safe, guided & protected, instantly to a feeling of overwhelming gratefulness, awe and amazement. This view was worth the whole risk of the trip; whàt a wonderful, beautiful world we live in..

Photo Detail
Date Taken: 01.2016
Date Uploaded: 08.2017
Photo Location: Laos
Camera: iPhone 4S
Copyright: © Monica A. Spanjer van Koppenhagen