It’s been a while since I’ve posted, but I still have some cool stuff to tell you about Laos. Besides eat and get our visas in Laos (see my previous post), and hang out at our amazing and cheap hotel, we did do a bit of sightseeing. We checked out some very old Wats (temples) went to a place called Buddha Park, and to the COPE museum, a museum commemorating victims of US bombing of Laos during the Vietnam War.
The COPE museum was really amazing and humbling. The museum itself is located at a facility that helps people with disabilities and missing limbs resulting from US bombing. Apparently there are still THOUSANDS of live, unexploded cluster bombs in Laos today. Like right now. From a war that ended 40 years ago. Every year, people in Laos accidentally set off these bombs that are hidden underground and get hurt or killed. It’s really horrible.
The museum has lots of information and statistics about US bombings and then about the efforts of the people of Laos to deal with the aftermath. The COPE foundation is a nonprofit that helps victims with prostheses as well as physical and psychological therapy to help them get over their injuries. At the end of the whole thing, I was honestly surprised nobody spit in my food (that I know of) just for being American. My inner hippy came out and by the time we left, I just wanted to give everybody a hug.
Later we went to a place called Buddha Park, which was pretty much the opposite of the COPE museum. This place was incredible. I guess it’s actually a pretty small park but it is FILLED with hundreds of Buddhist and Hindu statues. From what I read, it was built in the 50’s by a team of sculptors and it was intended to sort of bridge the gap between, and combine Buddhism and Hinduism. Being a stupid white man, I don’t know enough about these religions to make any sort of commentary on that. So here are too many pictures. Enjoy.