Laos: Unattractive Choice

Marching north to do battle with the Communists, Royal Laotian soldiers tossed hand grenades in the Nam Song River and jumped in afterward to scoop up the stunned banana fish that floated to the surface. They swam, roasted pigs and fish over open fires, and drank plenty of Mekong rice whisky, paid for by their commanding officer and flown in every day by Sikorsky helicopters manned by U.S. civilian pilots.

Barrage-Happy. Their objective was the town of Vang Vieng, 65 miles north of the administrative capital of Vientiane (see map). Their favorite...

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