Published: June 22nd 2012April 15th 2012
Songkran! It was finally the big Thai New-year and the Songkran festival of water. I had debated and debated about what I would do. I didn’t know if I should spend it in MNC with the few kids that were here, go to Chiang Mai or go visit PiPa. Then Aggi arrived so I had someone to spend it with but I still wasn’t sure what to do. PiVivon wanted us to do Songkran with the kids but that wasn’t a problem as it goes on for many days, in the end this is what I did:
Going to take the rubbish to the dump the previous day and getting soaked I knew it had started and if I left Hot coffee I was going to get wet. So after breakfast myself and Aggi packed everything we needed to take to Chiang Mai in plastic bags inside backpacks and we set off in the car to play Songkran with the kids. First stop MaeCheam; we had large bins for water but no food so we stopped by the market to get food for a picnic. We then drove about half an hour out of MaeCheam to a waterfall where we spend an hour or so. We ate our picnic with some delicious mangos, took photos, walked around and fed some random guys watermelon. Then we filled up or bins and drove back to MaeCheam. For about two hours we drove around MaeCheam which is a small ish village wetting people, getting very wet and filling up our bins. It was so much fun but it’s brutally cruel when people throw ice cold water at you! There seems to be a rule that if you have paper work or a mobile or something in your hand they don’t wet you but everyone else gets drowned and mostly it’s refreshingly cool in the very hot weather. Then PiVivon dropped us off at the songteyo stop and we took the 3pm songteyo to ChomThong. For most part of it your going through the mountains so there is no-one to wet you so me and Aggi chose to stand up on the back to try and dry off a bit in the sun. We were doing really well for the first hour or so until someone throw an unexpected bucket of water at us then moving to sit inside others started to throw buckets of water inside the songteyo. So all that trying to dry off was a complete waste of time, there is no staying dry during Songkran! Taking the Songteyo to Chiang Mai was just as bad if not worse because mostly it’s driving through where people live so by the time we got to Chiang Mai we were just as wet as when we left MaeCheam, good job everything was in plastic bags!
Checking a few of the guesthouses around Chiang Mai gate everything seemed to be full and Aggi already had accommodation with her friend. So we walked over to where he was staying and then tried to find me a guesthouse. Amazingly next door there was a pretty cheapish place and as it was ideal I just checked in there. My first thoughts though when I found out where he was staying was ‘I am not staying on the prostitute street’ only to be told by Aggi ‘No he’s not staying on the prostitute street he’s staying on a small street of it’. Great so I’m staying on one of the back streets instead. But it was OK and we had dinner and walked around the night market all without getting too wet again in our nice dry clothes.
It was Friday and the main day of Songkran. Aggi had already told me she doesn’t really do early so I just said text me when you’re ready but I didn’t expect breakfast to be 11o’clock! But no problem I spent the morning reading and relaxing in my dry bedroom. Trying to stay dry once out though is impossible and having breakfast in wet clothes is not so comfortable but after breakfast we took our things back and joined in the action. Aggi and Sebastian water water-pistols whereas I wanted a bucket so after we bought our weapons we headed to the river around the square of the city where all the action was. For a few hours until we were kind of over it we walked up and down the river filling up our buckets and wetting people and getting even wetter ourselves. Unfortunately I hate the ice cold water but love throwing a bucket full over someone ha. It’s awesome fun and everyone is happy and wishing you New-year and then there are thousands of people on bikes and in cars (I think it’s the sole reason so many people in Thailand have pickup trucks) joining in on the action, everyone having fun. I definitely think it’s a must for everyone in their life time. Things eventually become quieter down around sunset and after getting showered and changed we were hoping to stay dry. But there is always someone who wants to go on a bit longer and wet you! Really annoying, we became experts navigating around the backstreets of Chiang Mai trying to avoid the water. So while going out for dinner, to the market and to the internet we got wet. Sebastian and Aggi got much more annoyed at this than me. During the day I like the atmosphere much more, at night people star t to become drunk and it gets irritating.
I tried to get in touch with Pipa as I wanted to visit her at some point while in Chiang Mai but unfortunately I missed her phone calls while at the market, hopefully next time. On the Saturday Sebastian was sick so that left me and Aggi to make plans. Although I thoroughly enjoyed both days of Songkran I didn’t really want to do it a third day. We had been invited by Ralf to a BBQ which we thought was in the evening, we text Ralf in the morning about it and he text us back while we were shopping in Chinatown that we should be at his house in 20minutes. Now some things are impossible and some are just difficult and this was just plain impossible. So unfortunately we missed the BBQ but joined them for drinks in the evening. In all we spent most of the day shopping in Chinatown or on the internet (you really appreciate fast internet when you live with snail pace internet in the mountains). It was ice to catch up with them and overall it was an amazing festival to be a part of but sometimes it just got a bit too much especially when you had just got showered and changed and had your bag with you (in the city there doesn’t really seem to be any rules0 and Aggi and Sebastian seem to get really annoyed with people about t very easily.
Sunday morning we had to try and make our way to Ralf’s house as Khruu Noi was driving over to MNC and picking up the car there, address in hand all we had to do was find a tuktuk driver to take us (and try and stay dry). We had been told she was leaving at 2 and we should leave Chiang Mai at 12, because it was Songkran getting there wasn’t going to be easy. Aggi and Sebastian didn’t get up until late and I was starving. Sebastian said the bar very close to the guesthouses did good food so we went there and waited an hour to receive the food! I was so annoyed and the drink that I ordered they didn’t even bring. I had to go check out of my guesthouse in the middle of my meal because check out was 12 and it had taken that long to get breakfast! Anyway we had to try and get to Ralf’s house so we stopped by 711 then got a tuktuk driver to take us for a really good price, only to find out he had no idea where he was going. After numerous stops and phone calls to Ralf he found the complex where Ralf lived, but it was much bigger than we all realized. We got him to drop us off at what we thought was the end only to have to walk for about 40mins to find the house in the blazing midday sun with no shade and wet. (Aggi wasn’t very happy about getting wet in the tuktuk). It was such a relief to finally find the house but then it was nearly 2o’clock and we didn’t have much time before we had to leave again and sit in the car; four squashed in the back us in wet clothes for 3hours. Arriving at Ralf’s we realized I had Aggi’s simcard in my phone so they couldn’t contact us as they didn’t have the number, we had no credit so couldn’t call, Ralf had tried to call the tuktuk driver but he wasn’t interested, hence we were lost for a while. It was so good to finally get back home though, showered and dry.