checking out ancient excavacted jars in phonosavan
18.04.2011 25 °C
Clint and i headed out to phonosavan leaving alison to party out her inhibitions in vang vieng. on our first night here we took in a free documentry offered by MAG who are currently clearing all UXO (unexploded ordanance), the film gave a detailed heartwrenching account of the bombs left by the americans during the secret war and vietnam war. over 30% of the bombs dropped during this time never detinated and have been burried underground and are still killing unexpecting people who walk over them. because of this people are afraid to farm new land, which keeps the country poor. children try and pick up the bombs in order to sell it for scrap metel to make money for their parents (around $20) and they are exploding and killing the kids. its a very sad and harsh reality to grasp.
the next day we hired a motorbike and headed out in search of the plain of jars sites 2&3. however we missed the sign and ended up taking a drive in the country. during this drive we stumbled across the the MAG workers at a pit stop currently clearing bombs. excited i got clint to pull over and went over to talk to the laos workers about the bombs and get their perspective on it. i was disapointed that none of them spoke english to answer my questions but they smiled and graciously take some pictures instead. we got turned around and finally found the 2nd and 3rd jar site. we drove up a dusty hill and pulled over at the markers. at the site we ran into a laos family for about 3 mins and then they left and we had the entire site to ourselves which was pretty cool. nothing is known of the ancient jars at phonosavan, they range in size from 1-3 meters tall made of rock as well as massive decorated discs. on the site there is a small path marked by rocks, you have to stay between the white lines because its been the only area cleared of uxo. on this path alone they found over 130 uxo, so we took the markers pretty seriously not straying too far. there are over 30 jar sites known to the people however the other areas are not open to the public or even many archeologists until they can get the funding to get the sites cleared properly of uxo. from here we took the moto to the village of ban napia where the people use the old peices of metel from the bombs to make spoons. however we werent able to find where they did this to watch the process.
after this we headed to Tad Long Waterfall. a spectacular long spread out waterfall that for some reason reminded me of the rocky mountains. it was pretty neat but it was starting to get dark so we headed back into town. drained the gas we put into the bike into water bottles and then i sold them to the owners of the guesthouse we were staying at, making back some of our money!
all in all this was definetly a highlight of my trip, especially being as it was far out of the way we seen under 10 other tourists on our travels which was pretty neat.