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November 13th 2005
Published: November 27th 2005
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In the morning we headed out to the local bus station (which was just a spot on the road) and there were a few nice buses ready to go. But of course, our bus had not arrived yet. Just 15 minutes later, a scary looking bus comes up the road and, you got it, it was our local bus to Phonsovan. Without hesitation, we got on board and perpared ouselves for the eight hour ride through the mountains. The views were again spectacular as were the small villages we drove through.

When we rolled into Phonsovan, we immediately learned it was a small, one town road. A bunch of local tauts greeted the bus and we followed one to a subtle guesthouse and negotiated a $3 per night charge.

After a quick lunch with other bus members, I got a shave (lovin' it) and we went to secure a tour for the next day. As Phonsovan is an area which is littered with UXO (unexploded ordinance), it is not wise to wander around without a guide. Thus a tour is the safest choice. A few tour operators were offering a day trip to the various Plain of Jars (there are three plains in total that feature lots of jars) but I had heard that once you go to one that is enough. So with our new friend Charlotte in tow, we held out for a tour that offered more. And we found it at the Keong Kong guest house.

The next day we joined eight others for a tour of bomb craters, a small village, a waterfall and the Plain of Jars. It was a great day. Amazing to see the various US bomb craters (different bombs left different craters) and how a local village has made use of the US bombs that did not explode. Strange to be standing here where only 40 or so years ago there were thousands of NVA running around. Then we completed a one hour hike through the jungle to reach scenic waterfalls and, with the weather cooperating, we had wonderful views of the surrounding mountains and valleys and great swimming temperatures. Finally, the Plain of Jars (see photos) was a unique site but left me a bit underwhelmed (I am very glad we did not take the full three site tour).

That night we went to Keong Kong to see the Laos war documentary but they could not find it so instead we tuned into Star Movies and caught Sister Act. You take what you can get on the road.

It is off to Vietnam tomorrow...hopefully it will work as we are taking the "road less travelled" to a border crossing that was only opened last year.

Additional photos below
Photos: 33, Displayed: 23


Aisles are for luggageAisles are for luggage
Aisles are for luggage

Locals pile their belongings in the aisles forgetting about safety and comfort.
Toilet StopToilet Stop
Toilet Stop

We stop at a small roadside village and this is the "facilities" for us weary travelers to use. The picture does not do the smell justice.

Singing to Extreme's "More than Words" as that was one of the only 10 songs they had in English. The crowd of 4 Laos and 2 travelers loved it.
Fresh Spring RollsFresh Spring Rolls
Fresh Spring Rolls

This Lao lady made me vegetable spring rolls from scratch.
War MementosWar Mementos
War Mementos

Our guest house (Ving Vong) had a good deal of weapons on display left over from the war.
Bomb CraterBomb Crater
Bomb Crater

We took an organized tour because galloping around this area filled with UXO (unexploded ordinance) is not wise. Here I stand next to a bomb crater.
French GenesFrench Genes
French Genes

This blonde girl has genes from the old days.
Bomb HutBomb Hut
Bomb Hut

They use the bomb shell casing for various purposes including legs for this hut.
Flower potFlower pot
Flower pot

A bomb casing used to house flowers
Village PeopleVillage People
Village People

A group of Lao kids wave as we stroll pass their village...sorry for the headline as I could not help myself.

These flowers grow wild here....just in time for the upcoming holiday season.

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