Looking Back: Route 13, Northern Laos

| January 20, 2010 | 5 Comments
route13 Looking Back: Route 13, Northern Laos

Route 13, Northern Laos

North of Vang Vieng (July 1, 2002) — It’s eight hours’ drive from Vientiane to Luang Prabang Town, in the heart of northern Laos. Only the thin grey scar of Route 13 breaks the rolling landscape of jungle and sky. The scene was humbling, immeasurably majestic, and I found myself smiling bemusedly at Graham Greene, whose Lawless Roads I had just been reading before I looked out the bus’ window. Decidedly not a Romantic, Greene judged a landscape by its value to man: “Nature appals me,” writes Greene “when unemployed or unemployable.” Romantics of course, would have loved the scenery in Northern Laos, finding God in the remote and verdant jungle fronting the rocky craigs thrust upwards into the underbellies of soft, white clouds. But it was obvious neither God nor man dwelt here any longer—just the memory of man rolling onwards in the surfaced road and the memory of God, pushing in on all sides through the fecundity of the jungle.

We’ve started a new category on our blog called ‘Looking Back’ that will include an occasional entry from our journals that date back to 2001 when we first began writing about living and travelling abroad. We’ll present these paired with a photo in the form of a verbal postcard. Together, these postcards provide an (in)formal and often (in)coherent narrative of the trips we’ve taken!

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