Laos - Dust and Karsts

Dirt road through the village of Lak Sao Sy with forests around. The village of Lak Sao Sy is some 200 kilometres north east of Vientiane, the capital, on a small, less travelled, road that leaves Highway 13 just north of the Nam Ngum Reservoir and cuts across towards the Vietnamese border The capital of landlocked Laos is Vientiane which lies near the centre of the country. Leading northwards from this city is Highway 13 which, after over 300 kilometres of meanderings, reaches that most special of towns - Luang Prabang. But more about these towns on future pages. This page is about the country which is bounded by Highway 13 on the west, the Vietnamese border to the east, and Highway 7 (which provided the theme of the last page Go to another page.) to the north. This area is, like much of Laos, 'underdeveloped' making it a target for illegal logging and mining. There is a small road penetrating eastwards into the region which looks enticing on maps. We were enticed and managed a couple of scores of miles. But the going was too rough for the Jeep (and its passengers) really only fit for the largest trucks with six foot wheels. We retraced our steps and returned to Vietnam via Highways 13 and 7. These photos offer a peep into this isolated land. Children and houses in Lak Sao Sy village. Children on the street of Lak Sao Sy. It is so hard to convey the heat and isolation of villages like this: the boy is sheltering under his jacket from a burning sun, and the dust lies heavily on the roadside vegetation Three small stilted buildings. Stilted buildings with houses beyond. Stilt buildings along the road with houses behind.
A story: along this stretch of road beside some houses a man indicated he would like a lift; he scrambled in, and sat in the back, pistol on lap; we had no common language, but he was friendly; after ten kilometres or so he indicated he had arrived; leaving us to wonder why he was so armed. Later we found that this road is used for much illegal trade and no doubt locals feel the need to be wary
Here is a clip of a good stretch of the dust road (and those are dust encrusted bushes) where the Jeep was able to make progress. But soon after this the road deteriorated to the point where we could not get through: ruts are made by huge wheels and baby Jeeps can't cope. Jeep pushing through river water. A green Jeep again; leaving the river having had a refreshing bath which removed the red dust gathered
in the journey shown above
Hillside trees in blossom. These pictures were taken in the early spring - February - when the trees are in full blossom Towering vertical karst formations. Apart from dust and nefarious goings on... Foreground river with karsts beyond. ...this part of Laos also has spectacular karst scenery Track to house with karsts as background. These pictures form a greatly Grasses in foreground, karsts beyond. overlapping panorama; but Sun burning righthand karst range. separately make distinct views Jagged outcrop beside high karst hills, bananas in foreground. The jagged silhouette of karst and banana in the evening light Field with bananas and karsts behind. Here Highway 13 runs through of karst lined valleys... River with karst background. ...lined with habitable ground near the road Golden grass seed heads with softened mountain behind. Gentle evening light silhouetting the karsts and enlivening the grasses Blossom with setting sun behind. Blossom, tree and bananas with setting sun and distant mountains. Sunset, blossom, grasses and a line of karst hills

Sun setting above mountains with grasses silhouetted.
Trailers... Elephant with two riders drinking at pool. The next page of this section stays in Laos with pictures from more fertile areas - and an elephant. Mud flats, sea to the horizon under a setting midnight sun. The next page of the Mosaic Section is headed 'The Horizon'.
Or go to the contents of the Mosaic Section.
Saturday 25th April 2020 Murphy on duty to this site

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