Vang Vieng and Onward to Phonsavan, Laos Week 7 11th - 12th June 2011
We settled for a campsite in the grounds of the Family Korean Guest House.
Went for a walk through town and spotted some backpacker kayakers.
And liked the look of the river.
Plus the narrow streets full of restaurants (even a MacDonalds) and guest houses.

Probably the off season (rainy season arriving plus hot and sticky).

We watched the daily arrival of backpackers on buses from every which way. The hassle of sorting out suitable accommodation.

Opposite our guest house (at the quieter end of town) this gentleman weaved one basket per day.
It rained.

The Korean guest house was unusual. It had gutters.

No downpipe though. The hole where there would be one provided a shower for these two.

It was almost as if they hadn't seen rain before.

We ate Korean.

This is Kimche. All sorts of pickles, soup, rice, omelette, and dips.

I had to race back to the truck to get the camera.

Sorry its blurred.

There were three ladies in the kitchen who thought our antics with the camera somewhat amusing.

Next day we got serious about exploring the area.

Went on a "four caves and a village" tour.

This is the elephant inside the elephant cave.

Outside the cave was a temple.

We think the drum is used to call people for food.

Two Vietnamese lasses joined us for the first two caves.

One from Hanoi, the other from Saigon. They'd met while traveling and teamed up.

The one nearest quit her job in Saigon, hasn't told her mother, but left itinerary with her boyfriend. She's headed towards India.

They told us their names but our short term memories aren't what they used to be.

This is our guide Bun Su (spelling?) is tapping the curtains in Cave Hoi.

The curtains were flat. And we were horrified.

The formations are discoloured. Possibly from fires as people lived in the cave during the war.

The water cave.

We pulled ourselves about 400m upstream on a rope. Had our photo taken. Then pulled ourselves out again.

At this time of year the guides begin to worry about the effect of sudden downpours on water levels.

So did we as the entrance was rather low.

We followed this canal for a good half hour walk.

It starts from a weir at the entrance to the water cave.

Possibly before the weir was built exploring the cave was quite different.

The village is Hmong.

Looks like back-breaking work.

Planting rice.

Next day we headed North, then West to Phonsavan.

It was raining as we left Veng Viang.

The road climbed to about 1500m.

Villages occasionally run along the ridges.

The road reminded us of the Barry Way in Aus. A long steady climb with lots of corners.

Just short of the top a front wheel on this truck blew.

Literally. Like a gun going off.

The guy nearest to us is armed. One of three people, one in possibly army uniform, who went for a look see.

Basket making seems to be a male sport.
Different ethnic groups dress differently.

This young lady was in her normal daily attire, walking through the village.

The country is very broken.

The road follows ridges.

Endless corners and hills. Very slow going.

The children seem to look after themselves.

None of the safety concerns we have about "stranger danger".

These two were quite a way away from the nearest village.

A bit of roadworks.

Usual story. Wait until the digger is out of the way and the driver waves us past.

Simple really.

Towards Phonsavan there was flattish ground with rice terraces and the usual communal work effort.
Plain of Jars, Laos Week 8 13th June 2011

Barbi Tue, 12 Jul 11 08:35:28 +1000
Please keep thorwing these posts up they help tons.

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