Laos (IV): The Bolaven Plateau
Laos isn’t exactly a rich country, except if we consider its ethnic and biodiversity. Years of civil war and multiple foreign intrusions crippled the country’s development. I knew that Laos remained one of the most heavily bombed countries on the planet. What I didn’t suspect was that the remainders of those days were still very much present on the ground, in the form of bomb craters, outer bomb shells lying around or used as building materials and warning signs for UXO (unexploded ordnance) that are still buried under the ground. I had the feeling that Laotians prefer to skip this subject matter in their chats – at least with foreigners – perhaps because the wounds open in those troubled times are not yet completely healed.
As I went further East and up North into the mountains, I could notice people struggling much harder for their daily life. Everything there is primordial and if it wasn’t for the occasional satellite dishes or some parked pickup trucks, I might think I was traveling back in time. Many people live by the roads in fragile little wooden or bamboo houses and children walk around dirty and barefooted. Even in ethnic villages supported by cultural preservation projects from local and foreign governments, poverty is very tangible.
The Bolaven Plateau has a unique fresh climate given by its altitude and the region just oozes with natural beauty. A Garden of Eden, inhabited by people who deserved to enjoy the beauty of their land in a much more comfortable way…
Laos, August, 2013.
All photographs by António Marques – © António Marques Photoblog, 2014
I wish you all a Happy New 2014. Thank you for stopping by.