We fly late today; even so we’ve left a light itinerary. Sue rises before dawn to witness the monks taking alms and explore the morning market; I’m on a bike by 6AM to scout the day’s walks. Riding past the Monument to President Souphanouvong, who became the figurehead leader of the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party, I ride past the Unexploded Ordinance museum for a later visit, then cruise he side streets and stumble on my own procession of youthful monks. Working my way down to the waterfront, I preview some sites and reach my destination, the Le Banneton French bakery, where I had a delicious coffee and croissant, and brought pastries back for Sue and the boys.
Using those bready delights, I lured the boys down to breakfast, where Sue joined and we took it slowly… no hurry today. After an hour of reading and journaling boys grew restless so after packing we hiked back over to the UXO museum, which left quite an impression on them… with funding from UNICEF and several governments, it tells a concise tale of the secret war’s lasting tragedies. About one child dies from a residual bomb each day in Laos… they stumble across any of the 80 million undiscovered UXO’s when digging for worms, seeking scrap metal, or just walking about. There’s a well-funded effort to identify, defuse and dispose of UXO’s, but it’s a painstaking process, and in 10 years they’ve removed only ½ of 1% estimated ordinance. I impress upon our boys how fortunate they are to be born into their lives.
Back at the Cold River we pick up mom then stroll back down to the old quarter on the peninsula to bid adieu to this lovely place. Back at Le Banneton we enjoy a lunch and spend our last kip on bread and croissants for tonight’s trip to our next adventure… Hanoi.