-Vientiane, Laos-

So last entry I was a little bored. How things can change. After leaving Luang Prabang, I made a stop at Phonsavan, a dusty town with boring buildings lining the main street. One of the reasons for such a non-descript, average looking towns is because it is not the original site of Phonsavan. The town was moved after the Americans bombed the original Phonsavan during the secret bombing campaign in the late 1960's-early 1970's. Large holes litter the green hills in this part of Laos, often exposing red-brown dirt where no grass or crops grow. Throughout the small villages, bomb casings and old military scrap metal are used as supports for buildings, used to pot plants, and melted down to make tools. It is sad and quite hard to relate too. Still today, everyday, there are organizations scouring the Laotian country side, diffusing small unexploded bombs that are scattered everywhere. It is just an everyday reality that these people live with, that while tilling their rice or playing in the fields, that they may stumble across a bomb. The Plain of Jars is here too, filled with big, 2000 year old, rock jars with unknown purpose. Even here, bombs were dropped and, and the entire area is still not cleared completely.
From here I headed south to Vang Vieng. This small town had lots to do. I ended up meeting up with some other Americans and a Canadian who I had met on the slow boat a few days ago. We went tubing down a river filled with bars and rope swings and loud music (in Laos?). It was a strange place. The town is filled with restaurants that have low tables so you can lay out, and tv's that show movies all day, or the Vang Vieng special, "Friends". These places show "Friends" all day, and I think it is really stupid. We also biked about 8-10 miles outside of the town and went exploring into a big cave. At the end of the trail was a pool of really cold water that we jumped into. It was completely dark except for the stupid little lights they gave us, so jumping into a dark pool of water, swimming off into a pitch black cave with stalagtites above you, and dripping water in the distance, it was very exhilarating.
After a few days there, we came down to Vientiane, the capital of Laos. It is quite here with very hot days. We went bowling the other night. It was very embarrassing with none of us breaking 100. It was fun though. From here I am going to head down to southern Laos for a few days before going into Cambodia.