In the township of Phonsavan, not far from the room where I took my previous image, "Craters Restaurant" is known for its array of unexploded American bombs at the entry. Phonsavan township (now the capital of Xieng Khouang province in Laos) has been built since the 1970s, as both it and the former provincial capital after which the province was named were totally destroyed by US bombing.
I had thought of posting this image for HFF, but it's not a happy context.
Xieng Khouang province was one of the most heavily bombed parts of Laos, on which the US dropped over 2 million tonnes of bombs (more, in total, than was dropped by all combatants in WW2) during the "Secret War" between 1969 and 1975 - the equivalent of a plane load of bombs every eight minutes throughout that period. The result can be seen in aerial views such as this one from Wolfgang (ipernity) . Sadly, much of the bombing consisted of anti-personnel cluster bombs "bombies" which were released from containers such as the large shell at right. It is estimated that some 80 million of these dreadful devices remain unexploded and strewn around the countryside, killing and maiming many people yearly.
The "Secret War" (more details here) did not become public knowledge until after the American withdrawal from Vietnam. As for the role of the CIA, which were major players, the reality was close to the film "Apocalypse Now", as they fomented uprisings by the Hmong hill tribes while running their own secret air force within neutral Laos, itself involved in a civil war.
If you can stand it, here are a few more links for those interested in more background:
Huts in the Laos village of Kiokacham (spelling is variable). A traditional hut in the foreground, behind is a more recent build, from the Russian period following the SE Asian war, identifiable by its concrete block construction. Also evident is the satellite dish, as far as I could gather also from the Russian period and used for communications.
12 Sep 2011
Bureau de Poste
It was interesting to see the multi-lingual signage, such as this Post Office at a little village. I was very struck by the amount of advertising being given to mobile phones (3G when this was taken). I should add that the coverage (with my phone) was surprisingly good everywhere we went, despite the mountainous terrain.
05 Jul 2020
Macro Mondays - 160: 6 July 2020. Subject "Rubber". Best viewed on black.
It is almost a year since I took the photo of the first of the two construction barges arriving to begin work on the new bridge (see PiP). They are each about 3300 tonnes, as they need to be to carry the giant cranes lifting these very substantial concrete sections into place for the new bridge. View large.