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Blog 93 Vientiane to Namphon (Laos)

27th December

As I ride into the precise region where the Hmong tribes sided with the US as part of American anti-communist operations in south-east Asia – commonly known as the Vietnam war, I'm curious to know if the scarring of those years still bear witness in the faces of the people I see every day. I'm not seeing a lot of smiles. Between 1964 and 1973, American pilots flew 580,000 attack sorties over Laos, an average of one planeload of bombs every eight minutes for almost a decade. By the time the last US bombs fell in April 1973, a total of 2,093,100 tonnes of ordnance had rained down on this neutral country. There was something called a 'secret war' being covertly carried between the Americans and the Vietcong, the Americans wanting to shut down the Ho Chi Minh Trail down which I'll be riding in a few days time. This highway was a main supply route across Laos to Vietnam. However right now, Laotian peope are having to deal with the 80 million bombs which failed to explode and remain scattered throughout the country, rendering vast swaths of land impossible to cultivate.

Currently unexploded ordnance (UXO), including cluster munitions and mines, kill or maim approximately 50 Laotians every yea. Unexploded munitions lying near the surface in fields, children's playing areas are at risk of exploding and the UN says it'll take another 100 years to clear up the mess. I don't see people smiling in Laos. Land locked as they are and having taken a hostile position against the West now thawed, it's impossible to know how they think.

What to make of Laos?

When you see 'China' In the signposting,

you know you're far from home.

What is it about Icons

& Statues that look Demonic

The traffic in Laos is so different to what I'd ridden through in India. In India it's appropriate to press your car or truck horn and keep it pressed as you wind through traffic. No one is alarmed, reacts specifically to it and no offence is taken. Here it would be the height of rudeness and show huge disrespect to another road user.

Map of the Day

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Nina Plumbe
Nina Plumbe
29 de dez. de 2023

It would be nice to hear how that battery in your bike is helping you. How much you use it etc . 80 odd miles this last blog which would be a lot to do on a normal bike...especially with a few hills. ..

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