A Right Spectacle: Vietnam War-Era Salavan Airport in Laos.
Above Photo: Metal-rimmed spectacles were mixed into North Vietnamese concrete to strengthen the runway at Salavan Airport.
On a recent BACK-related trip into southern Laos, along the old Ho Chi Minh Trail where the book is set, I visited Salavan (or Saravane), where I found the old Vietnam War airstrip, and took the above photo of an interesting ‘sight’ – a metal frame from a pair of spectacles, mixed with stones and cement to reinforce the runway, almost certainly after the city and the airstrip had fallen to the North Vietnamese Army and their Pathet Lao (Communist) comrades in 1970.
Other than a friendly cowherd (who spoke excellent English – which was unique in Salavan) some cows, and wallowing water buffalo, I was the only person around, and I enjoyed walking along the old runway and looking at the scenery surrounding the town.
I’ve added some photos of the airstrip and surrounding countryside below.
For a modern-day take on the Vietnam War and Adventure Backpacking into the jungles of Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia, see: http://peteralanlloyd.com/back-part-2/backpackers-meet-the-vietnam-war-back-screenplay-finally-finished/
For POWs left behind in Laos, see also:
I recently wrote about the battle for Salavan and the resulting UXO here: http://peteralanlloyd.com/back-part-2/photo-story-uxo-from-the-battle-for-salavan-laos-when-air-america-and-the-cia-fell-out/
© Peter Alan Lloyd
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