Woken during night by storm, spectacular sheet lightening and booming thundershow immediately overhead. The shanty children across the way must have huddled together with their mother under the one blanket on their precipice. Our quarry was a quagmire, but we'd chosen a gravel area so had no trouble getting away early. Beautiful birdsong, have missed sound and sight of different birds since we left the national parks behind.
The day became sunny and clear during the middle of the day, and we met Guy and Miles on their way back to the turnoff for Luang Prabang. Pigs, dogs, cattle, chickens and toddlers wandered the narrow streets of villages along the ridge line. Some villagers have little white paper/plaster/ paint in triangle shape with one rounded edge on face (why?)
We found Jars site #1, and immediately saw term "Plain" was misleading – it’s really a plateau on hill – the Xiangkhoang Plateau, with native pine forest. The 334 rock jars have been painstakingly chiseled outside and in, but not all way to bottom (for balance). They have few lids, are weathered, some filled with dirt or split by trees. There are a variety of sizes, some more elongated than the others, very few with lips. History Mystery - are they funerary jars? (People today still like to be buried high with a view!) The largest is 2.57m in length with a 2.5m diameter.
Drove east towards Vietnam border, through Ping Pet, saw bomb casings in yards, made into cooking pots and planters (people around here collect ordinance like trophies). Noted an impressive teacher training college and students walking home for day. Back into Phonsavan for fuel, dinner at expat restaurant Bamboozled who support education in Phonsavan. We chose a campsite on patch of grass among gumtrees, between two new yet-to-be-bitumened roads with no nearby farms (although could hear cow bells). Ahhh, no smog, smoke or heat haze, minimum humidity, crisp air, rather than a sweatbox. We appreciated the rare clear starry sky and cool evening. Just as we were dozing off, music started up, several people walked on the unlit roads with flashlights, but no one came near. During the night an electrical storm blew up with enough rain to zip up window covers.