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Published: April 16th 2009
Chock Chai near Korat
The start of a big day
Songkran - 3 days of fun and chaos in Thailand
Amidst the political turmoil of Thailand, none of which is mentioned in the rural areas except for a glimpse of the news on TV, I boarded a truck full of kids and adults from the village near Chock Chai about three hours by bus north-east of Bangkok. It is Songkran water festival time and "Happy New Year" for the Thais.
I stood in the middle of the crowded truck next to a large barrel of water and everyone was armed with water shooting guns and anything suitable for throwing water. Soon we were passing large groups of locals dancing in the hot midday sun to the sounds of the upbeat Isaan music, all smiling and water was spraying everywhere. It did bring a momentary tear to my eye to see the pure joy of the Thai people on this special holiday.
We passed so many people, everyone was out in the street, old and young and we drove for about 20 kilometres to a large main road which was filled with thousands of revellers. Part of the Songkran fun is to paint a watery powder on to
Near our village
the face of any passer by. For the three days of Songkran you must accept being sprayed with water and stop if anyone wants to touch your face to apply the harmless paste. It feels like tribal warfare and I think the Thais and foriegners revert to their basic instincts with this being a great time to get close to any stranger that appeals as you pass them on the road.
It is amazing with so many people interacting that there is so little trouble and I only saw one minor skirmash amongst the throngs of people. We moved slowly along the road and it was so hot that I took a break inside the cabin of the truck between dancing or walking in the street amidst the calls of "look Farang, Farang (foreigner)" which meant another cue for my face to be painted.
On the second day of Songkran I returned to Bangkok. There was at least 80,000 people in Silom Road which is an amazing for it's crowd control by the people themselves. There was little or no trouble that I could see but it was a huge crush and could be very dangerous if there
was any panic. The party went all night every night and after three days of Songkran fun I slept very well. It is quiet on the streets today and the cleanup is in full swing. Many people hate Songkran and hide indoors or leave the country but if you get the chance you should experience it at least once. This is my second Songkran festival and I will be back for more.
This is my only entry for this visit.
Chock Dee !!! Good Luck !!!
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