Most of today was spent traveling from Luang Prabang, a small French colonial-era town on the banks of the Mekong to Pon Savan, a somewhat creepy town in the northwest that was decimated by the American Secret War carpet-bombing (how were we never taught about this?!). The town was then rebuilt in concrete Soviet style. Charming. Anyway, it's just a jumping-off point for the Plains of Jars, a mysterious World Heritage site.
The ride over here was interesting to say the least. Our driver seemed to think that seven hours of hairpin mountain S-curves on a packed and narrow minibus would be more exciting by swerving gratuitously close to cows, rockfalls, lumber trucks and packs of children at 60 mph. It didn't help that my seat had little padding and no headrest. We made it though! And the scenery was spectacular, but we also saw first-hand how Laos is one of the 20 poorest nations on the planet -- many of the children were half-naked and had distended bellies.
(representative obstacle course, minus the cliffs)