Vientiane

UXO. Estimated USA-bombed area in Laos

As I’ve already said, Vientiane has nothing really interesting, so I’m not bothering writing a real post about the city and I’ll just let you here some photos and tell you a couple of things (muahahaha, what a naughty boy am I).

 

The day before, not being prudent enough looking forward to meet new people in a new country, I almost got in trouble, but I didn’t let that experience become important and Laotian hospitality showed up soon. Christoph (a German guy I met in Vientiane who was traveling with other 2 German girls, Sophie and Vanessa) and me were riding around the city looking for something to eat when some guys invited us to their pre-wedding. We ate and drunk so much food, Beerlao (the most popular and cheapest beer in Laos) and Lao Lao (a homemade transparent whiskey they all drink there) that we barely could ride back to the guesthouse.

Other than that, Vientiane is boring and I’m only recommending a worthy visit (well, maybe the Buddha Park is worthy too, but I was already in Sala Kaew Ku in Nong Khai so I didn’t go): COPE Visitor Center. COPE (Cooperative Orthotic and Prosthetic Enterprise) is a national enterprise which provides orthopedic material and physiologic support to people (specially poor ones) who have any malformation for any reason or to those who suffer any damage due to UXOs. What? Do you mean UFOs? No, UXO is the acronym of Unexploded Ordnance; that is, bombs, shells, grenades, mines, etc. And the fact is that Laos is the most bombed country in the world.

Although Laos was theoretically neutral in the so called Vietnam War, USA bombed between 1964 and 1973 (unofficially they continued until 1975) all the East side of Laos trying to cut off the Vietnamese supply lines which were supporting the North-Vietnamese troops in South Vietnam, the so called Ho Chi Minh Trail. It’s estimated that under ideal conditions 30% of the explosives don’t explode and around 80 million of them remain still unexploded in Laos.

Now I encourage you to read and deeply research about the Vietnam War, including the post-war when the Khmer Rouge Genocide in Cambodia started. And no, the links to Wikipedia I let you here are not enough to understand the magnitude of that war. I can only admire Vietnam people and hopefully I’ll visit the country during this year. Although since I’m in Cambodia I’ve found out that, after helping Cambodian people, Vietnamese took with them a lot of resources from the country, staining their deed.



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