December 30, 2001

The land of a million smiles

Lao is one of the most bombed country in the history of warfare. During the Vietnam war, the North Vietnamese supply routes used to run through Laos. US warplanes used to drop their bombs all across eastern Lao. Thirty years on, the Lao people have found an interesting use for the bomb casings. They cut them open, fill them up with soil and grow flowers in them.

Flowers in bomb casings

Yet another place, I found a bomb part being used as a rubbish bin.

Flowers in bomb casings

In Lao people always seem to be smiling. They use to call Lao the land of million elephants. I named it the land of a million smiles.”

Flowers in bomb casings


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The giant in Lao PDR One crisp December noon, I was at a temple in Luang Prabang writing some things. It was quiet and peaceful. I fell asleep. I heard some voices. I
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