April in Laos is one of the hottest times to of the year. It’s just before the rainy season and the temperatures get well into the 100s F, exposing large sandbars on dry the Mekong River. For Buddhist New Year in early August, Buddhists build symbolic representations of Mt. Meru, the center of the Buddhist universe, from which to send off their prayers. These flags were beautiful as they blew in the scorching breeze, but they’ll be gone soon when the heavy rains fill the Mekong River once again.