The Plain of Jars

Trip Start Nov 08, 2006
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Trip End Ongoing


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Flag of Lao Peoples Dem Rep  ,
Monday, January 22, 2007

The Plain of Jars is the archeological treasure of Laos.  Huge stone jar-shaped vessels are scattered on the landscape in no obvious pattern.  The jars average about 5 feet in diameter and height, but the largest weighs and estimated 15 tons.  They date from about the 3rd century BCE and span a 600-year period.  One archeologist who spent a great deal of time in the region believes the jars were funerary monuments and served as giant urns.  Our guide (a genius who Lindsey loved) thought the jars were for making Lao-lao (rice wine).  This is a theory held by others as well, but then he went on to say that he thinks the jars were large because the Lao people used to be giants, which allowed them to move the massive vessels.  The reason for the decrease in size over the last 2 millenia?  The drinking of Lao-lao has caused the people to shrink.  I was able to let this slide.  People's ignorance no longer shocks me.  I mean, I read articles about intelligent design all the time.  But Lindsey found him infuriating.  She tried to engage him in an intellectual debate, which was hindered by the fact that English is his second language and that he doesn't have an M.A. in Anthropology.  He was also hung over, which he mentioned quite often.  That leads us to the second part of the tour - wine making in the local village.
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