Laos - Bombs, Jars & Forest

Person asleep on the ground next to bombs. Catching a siesta under the watchful eye of some presents left by the Americans -
40 years previously
The last page Go to another page. offered images which illustrated the way cash crops have taken over the undeveloped land in southern Vietnam. This development was partly due to the economic shock administered to the whole country by the American embargo forty years ago. Prior to the embargo was the American war, during which vast quantities of ordnance rained down on both Vietnam and on Laos. It is estimated that some 80 million tons of unexploded devices still remain in the forests of Laos. In Vietnam this ordnance was nearly completely cleared last century, however, in Laos, at the present rate of clearance, with its tiny population and vast forests, it will be hundreds of years before it will be safe to walk in the countryside. The up side of this is that Laos has the highest per hectare forest cover of any Asian country. And so here there is a chance to see the beauty created if nature is left to her own devices - our thanks to the United States. The photographs on this page are taken from a journey along Highway 7 which forms a major artery between Vietnam and Laos. Along this route is the extraordinary World Heritage Site: 'The Plain of Jars' now clear of devices, but with reminders from the Mines Advisory Group (MAG) of the ever present danger. These reminders contrast with the beauty of the surrounding country, introduced lower down the page. Sign showing markers designating paths cleared of bombs. The sign above warns visitors that they should walk within the marked areas. The sign to the right acknowledges the work of clearing this part of The Plain of Jars to allow visitor access... Sign recording the clearing of the bombs from Plain of Jars Site 1. ...a major effort which cleared just one fortieth of a square kilometre in a country of a quarter of a million square kilometres Two stone Jars, others beyond. Jars full of puzzles. But most likely they are connected with burials that took place around 2,000 years ago, so far all explanations have problems: none fit all the facts.
Wikipedia has a full article on the Plain of Jars. Go to another site.
Han sitting on the lip of a Jar looking down into it. Contemplating the puzzle Two Jars with large numbers of Jars in the distance. The Jars range in size from one to three metres high Area with scores of Jars, trees beyond. There are 90 Jar sites like this in the Xiangkhouang Province of Laos some with few
and some with as many as 400 Jars
Jar under a tree. The most likely suggestion about these artefacts are that they held the cremated remains of higher status individuals, burial of lower status people being in the ground around the Jars... Single Jar, many in the distance. ...However, the density of the Jars, some containing bone from more than one person, and the lack of accoutrements, make this an uncertain suggestion Jar with broken lip and the number 217 stencilled on it. The above Jar 217 shows the sort of damage done by the rain of bombs the Americans... Agricultural countryside near  Site 1 of the Plain of Jars. ...dropped on the local countryside including the Plain of Jars. Above, a view of the countryside near 'Site 1' Han sitting under a tree surrounded by Jars. Laos is a very hot country even in February when these pictures were taken. The shade of trees is as essential now as it would have been at the time of making these Jars. They are all hewn from solid stone involving the use of metal implements - no implements have been found Scarlet blossomed tree with wooded background. A consequence of the American bombing has been the preservation of the Laos forests, huge swathes of the country are unsafe... Orange blossomed tree with scrub background. ...for its citizens, but very safe for its trees. The visitor can drive for hours on end, through pristine forests, without seeing a soul Plumb blossom and grasses. Along the roads, in early spring, the flowering trees... Cherry blossom. ...and shrubs offer a continuous display Newly opened flowers out before the leaves. Red fruiting tree. Grasses, blossom, hillsides. Beyond the foreground of flowering trees is the panorama of wooded hillsides - too dangerous to be cleared for cash crops Go to another page. Red fruiting tree; treed area with road. Grasses and blossom with ranges of hills beyond. Trees on valley sides to far distance. Wide valley with river and near-by grasses. Hills, with no sign of human habitation, stretching away into the distance

A light mist lying in valleys in wave after wave of tree-clad hills . The stunning vista from where routes 7 and 13 meet at Phou Khoun in central Laos
Trailers... Village street with dust road and people. The next page has more images from Laos - its dust, karsts and sunsets. And an innovation: an embedded movie clip; with this the pages enter the 21st century! Ba Hai standing in her bar at New Year. The next page of the Mosaic Section is headed 'Thought and Language'.
Or go to the contents of the Mosaic Section.
Saturday 11th April 2020 Murphy on duty to this site

Contents for this section - Picture Posting.       Home page for this site -       Return to the top