The Xieng Khouang area is so pretty, with rolling hills and cool weather. Even in August, the mornings are cool and so vastly different from the swamp like weather in Vientiane. It was a slight struggle though, climbing up the steps on the small mountain that housed Tham Pui cave, a home to many poor Lao villagers, until a missile was fired into it, igniting the air, liquefying the cave rock, and killing 374 people.
It seemed right, just so cosmically right, that the mountain area was lush with flowers, butterflies, and green papaya you could just pluck off the branches. Even the plum sized spiders were beautiful in their creepiness. I asked the tour guide, Mr. Lae, if in pre history, if the mountain cave had been a spiritual place. He said yes, saying that in the past it was a holy place with a Buddha statue inside. He too lived in the caves for a short time, being one of the lucky that survived, yet still remained to tell the story again and again.