The Plain of Jars and Lots of Bombs
Trip Start Mar 04, 2004
77Trip End Jul 02, 2005
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The whole area also has the sad distinction of being one of the most bombed places on earth during the secret U.S. bombing associated with the Vietnam war. It was surreal to visit the Plain of Jars, soon to be another Laos UNESCO site and see people looking for unexploded ordnance and marking out places not to walk. When I wandered off the marked path to take a wee I must say I was a tad twitchy. There is a very good video at Nashim Indian Restaurant that explains the UXO problem in Laos and what is being done to combat it. From the perspective of the video cluster-bombs certainly seem to be an evil on par with land mines.
Thinking about the war in Lao also got me to thinking how that war, in which they armed indigenous tribes, the Hmong in this case, and the used tons of air power to support them, was really a precursur to the Kosovo bombings, in which the KLA was used in place of the Hmong, and the Afghanistan war in which the Northern Alliance played the part of the upstart insurgents funded by the West. Anyone agree/disagree?
I also managed to find two Lao discos and party it up with the Lao people. They really like to let loose. Also, at one point I ordered a Beer Lao. What I got was 6 glasses, 2 Beer Lao, a bottle of water, and a roll of toilet paper. Funny Lao bars. The dancing is a mix of traditional and techno which results in some very odd dance moves. Their mixes are also quite strange: Never before have I heard a techno version of Auld Lang Sine.
I have been spending much of my time with Phillipe and Tyra from Paris. Tyra is actually from the U.S. but they just got married and are on a 3-month honeymoon through SE Asia. They are both lovely people and so cute together. Phillipe is a doctor and Tyra is a International Relations person. As you can imagine, we have many interesting conversations. They are also quite adventurous and good storytellers. I spent most of my time in Phonsavan, and now in Luang Pra Bang, with them.
More from Luang Pra Bang soon.