National Geographic : 1961 Aug
argy must )e true, when we were invited to take a trip with the Prime Minister. Could we be ready in 15 minutes? His Highness had decided only two hours ago gtooout of town, andt he was eager to be off. Prince Wears Ten-gallon Hat And so, after a flight southeast to Savan nakhet, we found ourselves bouncing along in a Jeep right behind the Iand-Rover of Prince ourn ()um of Champassak, a tall man of Churchillian mien in a bush jacket and a ten-gallon hat from Texas. From his shoulder l)ag peeked the seven-inch barrel of a Iuger. The temperature rose to 105°. With our company of soldiers, we made one long col umn of reddish dust. In Keng Kok, the City of Silkworms, the Prime Minister bought fried chickens and fried cicadas, and two notebooks for me. Then we drove on, until there was no more road and we traversed dry rice fields, bounc ing across their squat earth walls. It was a spleen-crushing day. An hour of bouncing, a brief stop in a village to inspect a new school or dispensary. More bouncing, another stop, a new house for teachers, a new well. Then off again, rushing to keep up. We were miserable. But our two Jeep mates-Keo Viphakone from Luang Irabang and John Cool from Beaver, Pennsylvania - were beaming under their coatings of dust. Together they had probably done more than any other men to help push Laos toward the 20th century constructively. Mr. Keo, once a diplomat in Paris and Washington, was Commissioner of Rural Affairs. John, an engineer and anthro pologist with a doctorate from the ILondon School of Economics, headed the rural level olment division of .'S)M, the United States Operations Mission administering U. S. aid.