Bomb Crater Swimming Pools
Wednesday, February 02, 2011
During the Vietnam War, the United States flew more than 580,000 bombing missions over Laos. That's equal to one bombing mission every 8 minutes around the clock for 9 full years. In fact, the country's Xiengkhouang Province, where the famous Plain of Jars is located, is considered the most heavily bombed place on earth. This intensive bombing campaign left the landscape pockmarked with craters.
One of these craters formed mere feet away from the house of Prince Souphanouvong, later President of Laos. A trained civil engineer, he turned the hole into a kidney-shaped swimming pool, flourished with a fine biomorphic indentation.
A symbol of decadence cultivated out of hellfire and Cold War geopolitics.
While the pool may no longer be filled with water, many of these craters are permanently inundated, forming an aberrant hydrology of micro-lakes. In fact, some of them have been converted into aquafarms. Here's a photo of one of those fish ponds. In the south of neighboring, similarly pockmarked Vietnam, according to Places, “bomb craters are favored sites for houses, with a replenishable source of protein at the doorstep.”
Perhaps one day a cluster of these craters will be turned into an inverse archipelago fed by hot springs, connected together by channels, next to a luxury eco hotel, both designed perhaps by a Laotian Paisajes Emergentes, that is, a cadre of bright, enthusiastic, young tykes helping to lift their country from decades of economic strife and social conflict through design.
In any case, the Klimt-like pattern of these circular craters embedded into a tapestry of rice fields may be mesmerizing to look at, nevertheless, these aerial photos belie the fact that millions of unexploded bombs remain on the ground, all posing a deadly threat to civilians. There are still millions of silent craters waiting for that human touch.
Bomb Crater Fish Ponds