Jun 27, 2005
|Got up early doors to makemy 730am bus to the east of the country to a place called Phonesavan, it was going to take 7 hours to do abut 200ks tops as this road although tarmaced, was through the mountains the whole way.
I pitched up at the stop and saw John & Ginie and Karen and the Kiwi with the thai bird from the slow boat were there, so the journey wasnt going to be a lonesome one that I first expected. The bus was ancient the tread on the tyres was questionable and it was rammed full of car parts and tiles down the aisles, so we were all set for the assualt on the mountains.
So we got going and the scenery was awesome loads of monster green mountains and we were on this road that slowly wound its way up and down them, the bus struggled hard on some of them, the bus was fucked, they had to keep filling the engine up with water as we climbed up them. We stopped for a pee break, but had to remember not to stray off the beaten track as Im in UXO country now and you dont want to be treading on Bombi while goig for a pee, but the girls are more in danger of that as they go further of the road for some privcy, whereas all the lads were just going next to the road. I got my first sight of the guard we had on our bus as we would be going through bandit country, he had a nice AK47 on his shoulder. Apprantly 2 years ago some bandits attacked a bus a shot it up properly so not sure what use thislone man and his AK47 would do but I suppose its better than nothing. We actually drove past the shot up bus on the side of the road a bit later in the journey, nasty. We got reinforcements as we approached the dodgy section as a kid jumped on from the army with another AK47 strapped over his shoulder.
The roads and the possible imminent attack from bandits I could handle, but the the damn Thai music the driver kept banging out was driving me insane, he had it at full blast and I was sitting directly underneath the one speaker in the back of the bus, GREAT.
Stopped for lunch in some mountain town were I had to use a squatter but getting a realy good technique together with those things now.
Hit the road again and this Laos lady started dishing out boiled honeybee grubs, I thought it rude not to take some so i chucked some in mymouth and started chewing. They tasted like mushy newspaper with a hint of sweetcorn, I was fine chewing it until I crunched its head then relised what I was eating. I swallowed and it almost bounced but managed to hold it down, then threw a Oreo cookie down me quick as.
So we got to Phonesavan in one peace and all ended up staying in the same joint, we arranged the tour of the plain or jars and bomb sights, then went for mission of a walk to find some decent restuarant. Came back and watched this DVD about the area, which basically showed how the Americans destroyed a lush farming region of Laos, by dumping millions of cluster bombs over the so called Ho Chi Minh trail. Technically they had signed an agreement to not bomb or go near Laos but they were secretly bombing the hell out of Laos, plus the pilots who didn't see there targets in northern Vietnam, rather than returning to the carrier with a load of armed bombs, would just dump them on Laos, its unbelievable. What makes it worse is that these cluster bombs didn't go off, 30% in totally, and they dropped something like 3 million on Laos. So its a real problem in this region for the farmers as all it takes is a knock or someone to tread on one and up it goes.
Our host showed us her secret stash of bugs in her office, she had tonnes of beeltes and all sorts inthese plastic bottles waiting to be exported to Japan to be pets, I don't get those Japs.
Tuesday 28th June
Woke up at 7 dieing for a pee but Karen was in the shared toilet facilities, hey its cheap, but i came very close to wetting myself.
All jumped into a minivan and hit the market which was crazy, saw massive pigs wrapped up in baskets and loads of huge frogs waiting to be bought for someones dinner, not mine thats for sure. The guide was a legend called Noyt funny bloke. We drove to this field were we could look around safely without any UXO at some craters from the monster bombs they dropped on this country. Its was ridiculous you could literally look at all the small hills in the area and see hundreds of these red round craters. We then stopped in this tribal village of the Hmong people, where they use the old bomb casings and fuel tanks of the american planes for strange everyday purposes. They used them as foundations to there huts, troughs for the pigs and one blacksmith makes tools out of them its mental.
Walked down some gorge to have lunch by a waterfall, on the wayup almost got done by a huge most probably poisonious spider, I walked straight intoits web.
We then made our way round the three safe Plain of Jar sites. These are strange carved stone jars that have just been dumped in around Phonesavan, noone knows what they are fo, or how old they are, really random. Around these sites you have to be careful as only certian parts had been cleared by the bomb squads so you had to stay in between these white rocks.
That night headed back and had dinner in some random cheap restuarant, I was greeted with a maggot on my first mouthful, GREAT! Ended up staying their for most of the night watching Wimbledon and wrestling with the locals well funny, trying to chat to the Laos about tennis, they were well into it, reckon they had some money riding on it, or they were just perving over Sharapova, as you do.