Day on a bus Vang Vieng to Phonsavan

Trip Start Jan 31, 2011
Trip End Dec 15, 2011

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Where I stayed
Nice Guesthouse

Flag of Lao Peoples Dem Rep  ,
Saturday, July 30, 2011

08:18 It's raining this morning, which seems to happen when I want to go somewhere. No lightning or storm, just rain, which is fine if you want to go tubing.
Fortunately my shoulder doesn't ache too much today although generally I ache all over and want to sleep.
10:56 Landscape is incredible, clouds swirl ethereally round the massive karsks with hundreds of rice terraces all sitting in front, and I can't take any decent photos because I don't have a widow I can open!
11:23 God I wish a) I was sitting next to a window that slides open, and b) it was a sunny day. If you come to Laos, you MUST travel from Vang Viene to phonsavan or luang Prabang in the day.
11:43 We are driving along cliff edges and I hope that a landslide won't thwart our journey!
12:51 Villagers huts line the road, while they walk the road in wellies and flip flops, baskets on their backs. green hills roll into the distance the road winding along it's curves, and clouds sitting in the valley below us, parts of the road fallen away at the edge which is a little dicey, and the air up here is very cool as we're so high up.
17:59 We arrived about 330, and first went to Kong Keo. They had a bungalow which did have an ensuite but was full of bugs and no mossie net, and the be was like rock. The people were really nice but I wasn't very happy about the number of bugs and the hard bed, not with an already sore shoulder. We went for a walk down to the main part of town and looked at the Nice Hotel. It was indeed quite nice and had softer beds and a tv, so we went back and got our stuff and changed hotel, it was 30000 more per night. We walked up the street and went to craters for lunch/dinner where we met some other people and all planned to go on a trip to the Plain of Jars. They were also staying at the Kong Keo.
19:21 Whilst we were in Craters they put on a video about the secret war....there were more bombs dropped on Laos than in Germany and japan combined in WW2!
There was a 'Secret war' here- the Americans werent supposed to do anything in Laos but did- secretly. Millions of cluster bombs or 'bombies' containing ballbearings dropped were dropped, not only on the Ho chi Minh trail deliberately, but also because the planes dropped their load on the way back to the airbase rather than land with them. Hundreds of people are still killed by them and still find them to this day.
The streets of phonsavan have old bomb cases outside shops, as benches, as areas to cook in, just everywhere, the Mine Advisory Group (MAG) is also here with a branch across the road from craters cafe where we found good food, wifi and watched a documentary on 'the secret war'. These bombs are designed to kill people, they're useless against tanks and planes and the devastating effects plague people for years. Children find them and play with them because they're ball sized. They'll try and open them to get the ballbearings for their catapults, or the gunpowder for removing stumps from fields, if they're lucky they'll open it, but more times than not they'll be killed or lose limbs, eyes etc.
20:58 We've been seeking a tour to the plain of jars and found one at last that isn't too extortionate (but still more than it cost to get here and more than anything in Vietnam cot!) for 120,000 which is about 10. It's due to rain for the next few days and being up on a hill I suppose it shouldn't be a surprise, so looks like we'll be experiencing uk style weather today as it's also very cool

Best: the bus journey giving me a chance to resize a weeks worth of photos- which took 5 hours!!!! See how devoted I am to this?!
Worst: driving through such incredible but it being such awful weather
Beautiful: the scenery DESPITE the weather, but I do want to return.
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von_adder on

Yes the american secret war in Laos was and still is a travesty, scores of people are killed every year as the country is riddled with clusterbombs.

Bullfrog made a very moving and excellent documentary on the subject.

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