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Blog 96 Phonsavan to Muang Moc

30th December

Down the road towards the lake with the giant yellow duck - I kid you not - I found someone selling banana fritters and doughnuts. Further down inside the forecourt of a gas station on the outskirts of town was a Cafe Amazon - perfect. Doughnuts and coffee, and, a world heritage site I've wanted to see for 40 years. My chance planning sometimes works. It’s sunny, I’m alive, my batteries are charged so what could an electric cyclist want for more?

The Plain of Jars is a megalithic archaeological landscape in Laos. It consists of thousands of stone jars scattered around the upland valleys and the lower foothills of the central plain of the Xiangkhoang Plateau. Hollowing the sandstone jars by hand 2500 years ago was some undertaking especially as some of the quarrying was from granite outcrops and archaeologists think there were burial pots where the body decomposed on its way to the afterlife. Genrally the area was on a salt route as Laos at that time was an important trade intersection between China, Myanmar and Vietnam. It's the size and quantity of the jars which is staggering as there are literally thousands, all arranged in clusters ranging in number from one to several hundred and it's been a lifelong dream to see them. 7 kms from the town of Phonsavan I cycled to "Site No 1," which is one of 90 sites and each site comprises of1 to 400 jars.

The Plain of Jars

Site 1, with more than 300 jars and a natural limestone cave, offers the most insight into the mystery. In the early 1930s, French geologist and amateur archaeologist Madeline Colani theorized that the cave was used as a crematorium, producing the ashes that were afterwards placed inside the burial jars.

What did they say to each other at the final moment that “If I die, I will wait for you, do you understand? No matter how long. I will watch from beyond to make sure you live every year you have to its fullest, and then we’ll have so much to talk about when I see you again… ”

Jeaniene Frost

Map of the Day

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