Adventures in Asia

by Greg & Francie

Adventures in Meung Ngoi

Francie and I took a 4 hour bus ride to get to Nong Khiaw and, then, had an hour long boat ride to get to Meung Ngoi.  One of the things that appealed to us about Meung Ngoi was how isolated it is–there are no cars, motorbikes or SUVs. 

It was nice and cool on the river and a couple days of brief rainshowers really cleared away the haze from the slash and burning that has been going on.

Here is a picture from the small boat we took (we will post a cool video later).

my view from the boat

After spending a day of sitting around and watching the river from our guesthouse we decided to do a little hike to a couple of small, neighboring villages.  This was a great hike because it passed by some caves and we had some great companions as Francie described in the last post.

International hiking crew

This hut and rice field were along the path to the villages.

hike to ban na

These rice fields are not being used right now.  85% of all rice is harvested in the wet season (March is the dry season)–it is actually amazing to see all the irrigation techniques in practice.  These fields are terraced very carefully so villagers can use water from the river as needed.

fallow fields

One of the villages we walked to was Ban Na.  About 50 people live here and there is absolutely nothing to do here–this is BFE.  Of course, the villagers will argue that they have plenty to do!

sign

the other village

Unfortunately, we found a nice little ‘present’ here from the U.S. government.  Laos is one of the areas where the United Nations and other independent groups are trying to remove unexploded ordinance.  The day we arrived a team exploded a bomb that was upriver.  It has been a long time since the Vietnam war–and this isn’t even Vietnam.  This shell casing is being used to hold up some bamboo.

bombshell

I like to call this one “Winning the Hearts and Minds”.  Look closely at the text–looks like it was made in California:

made in the usa

On a more fun note–our little hiking group went to these caves (which Francie talked about in the previous post) and I was checking to see if this entrance went back into the hill–so I walk down around the corner and a dragon comes charging out at me! 

Ok, it wasn’t a dragon it was this black water buffalo and he didn’t charge out at me but kind of stomped and snorted at me as if saying “this is my nice and cool cave–go away”!

enter the dragon

We are now hanging out here in the Lao capital having some great food and waiting for our Myanmar visas.  Let’s hope they come through!

Extra anecdote by Francie:  It’s been interesting to go from these small villages directly to the Lao capitol.  In lots of the cafes and restaurants in Vientiane Greg and I feel like we might as well be in Seattle.  Yet the rest of Lao is still sparse villages surviving on subsistence agriculture & hunting or livestock raising.  The locals from these villages don’t travel around much since roads are bad and travel is expensive.  It’ll be interesting to see how the country changes over the next 20 years as transport gets easier.

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March 25, 2007 - Posted by | Laos, Photography, SE Asia, Travel

3 Comments »

  1. Yuck – that bit of shell case is a “dispenser[…] carried externally on aircraft for release in flight, and are used to disperse antipersonnel and antimaterial munitions. There are no hazardous components inherent to the dispenser. There are, however, hazards assoicated with the payload, adapter, and fuze.”

    Often it was filled with these: http://www.designation-systems.net/usmilav/asetds/u-b.html#_BLU86

    Comment by No Name | March 26, 2007 | Reply

  2. Looks more like a dragon than a water buffalo to me.

    Comment by Rob | April 18, 2007 | Reply

  3. i heard about the big rish in germany with bombs and them still active famers hiting them and stuff its rilly scary if you thingk about it

    Comment by jon | August 26, 2007 | Reply


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