I have always found history to be fascinating. Finding the remains of ancient times is one of the greatest discoveries that we have available to us, something that has always loved was how people each have a different interpretation of the past.
We finally made it to Phonsavan! I don’t know who was more tired, our driver or us from having to hang on for dear life for about eight hours! I am totally amazed by this country – which I shouldn’t be surprised and yet I still am! We have been climbing mountains for two days and we still never seem to make it to the top! Winding, banking and bracing yourself are all things we are now accustomed too because of this wild ride.
Something that never ceases to amaze us how different cultures live off of the land, we saw in the cities how the poor find a way to live off of the rich – out here? They are all poor, living in woven sided homes with straw roofs and not even able to have the simple luxuries we take for granted like running water or the privacy of a shower in a bathroom. As we drove past what must have been a few hundred little roadside villages and along the way we saw children playing in the mud with the chickens, toddlers washing their hair with a water hose in the center of the village, mothers waiting with their infants for a car to stop to buy the fresh product they are selling. One would think after seeing this kind of scene for days now that it wouldn’t bother me so and yet I do. My heart breaks to know that most of these children will never see much more of life outside of this main highway that brings life and money into the village.
Phonsavan, what used to be the capital of this area still hasn’t lost its charm and an ideal location to one of this country’s most drawn to the archeological site – The Plain of Jars. The megalithic archaeological landscape in Laos. It consists of thousands of stone jars scattered around the upland valleys and the lower foothills of the central plain of the Xiangkhoang Plateau. This is where the interpretation comes into play…what were they used for? (if you have a guess type it in the comments below!) Some say they were used to store wine, others say that they were used for family “cripes” after the bodies had been burned. There are many theories when it comes to understanding the past – we may never know what these beautiful jars were used for, we can only appreciate what they are…pieces of our past that built our future. On this plain, there aren’t just full of jars but there is another kind of history here as well…The “War” has many names: Vietnam War, The Secret War, The Second Indochina War, and known in Vietnam as the Resistance War Against America or simply the American War. Raging through Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia for over twenty years (Nov 1, 1955 – Apr 30, 1975) – The craters you see in the photo below is one of the holes left in the soil from American air raid bombs that were dropped over Laos. What warms my heart is seeing that even in a place where there were deviation and death there is now life – a sign shown by a small tree growing on the cusp of the creator.
The visit wasn’t a long one to the Plain of Jars, it wasn’t long before we were back on the road for another long day of travel.
Traveling Photographer Out!