Thursday, 15 May 2014

Plain of Jars, Phonsavan

Before we even decided on our final route, i had secretly came out with the different alternatives that will somehow land us at Plain of Jars. During the semester, i was taking this History module, From Wheel to Web, and i was intrigued by the background of these jars. What got me hooked on this attraction was its dubious legacy. Well, according to Wikipedia and many other websites, no one knew for sure where these jars came from or what they were used for. Some villagers claimed that it was for burial purposes and others, the preservation of food and water. But the spookiest (not sure if this is the best choice of word use) factor was that the limestone did not come from Asia and it is almost impossible for these 2,000 tons to travel across water.

But anyway, we set foot at Plain of Jars after spending 1/4 night at this slightly haunted hostel by the bus terminal... Or maybe it was the full moon's effect. It wasn't pleasant, either way. We came from km52 and the journey was about 9 hours ride. The temperated dipped and we were almost preserved by the time we reached the bus terminal. Do remember to have enough local currency, else you're in for some intense ripping off. 

Yes, the hostel at the bus terminal. (Avoid at all cost)

Post bombings from 2nd Vietnam War


We only went to Site 1, because yes, I was being the biggest coward and skeptical about Sites 2 and 3. But allow me a chance to justify my cowardice. Phonsavan, especially the Plain of Jars area, is one of the most heavily bombed area in the world. (Even more intensive than the bombs dropped in Germany and Japan during the Second World War.) And this was due to the discovery of the HCM Trial during Johnson's presidency that he systemized his Rolling Thunder Operation. Let me break down the intensiveness and extensiveness of the bombings -- at the rate of 1 bomb / 9 min for 9 years continuously. And the thing is, the U.S. planes could not land with the bombs at the back, so they did secret bombings in Laos, and 70% of the bombs were not denoted, hence becoming land mines. The entire population was wiped out and people continuously lived in fear. 

But it's really puzzling (???), heart-warming (???), i can't even find a suitable word to describe my respect and the pain i have for the people in that area. The kind of forgiveness they have in them and to use to bomb remains to make their quality of life better. Okay fine, obviously i don't expect them to be grieving and stagnate, but, i admit, i am loss of words here. 


We were pretty lucky to have met an English speaking Tuk Tuk driver who quoted us a price way below the average we've researched. It was 15USD for the two of us, if i do remember correctly, but definitely not pricier than that. And he left us at his sister's cafe and even booked a sleeper bus for our later journey to Hanoi. 

Fate, maybe. 

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