On the way out to Korea we stopped off in Thailand and were lucky enough to catch Songkran (Thai New Year, also know as The Water Festival) in Bangkok. I say 'catch' it but it goes on for 4 days so it's pretty hard to miss. I've been before and the amount of water involved has increased over the years. In that time people have swapped their garden hoses for pressure-washers, their buckets for tanks and their water pistols for supersoakers. It got a little crazy and we perfected the wet-look by the end of it all.
Most of the action is around two major areas but nowhere is safe. We decided to go with the tactic that offence is the best defence and got ourselves armed with a couple of high callibre supersoakers. Paul got a little too enthusiatic and broke his within the first ten minutes.... I have my suspicions it wasn't an accident because he was quick to dig deep and upgrade to a model with a superior water capacity and a longer range. He was showing classic signs of Supersoaker Envy: a water-warfare phenomena exhibited predominantly in males.
A particularly popular tactic during Songkran
is drive-by soakings; a pick-up truck with a tank full of water and anything from five up to an improbable number of people standing in the back armed with buckets. Extra points scored if the bucket is laden with ice. After all the action on the streets we needed to refuel and fitted in plenty of Thai food. Any excuse. Kinda of odd to be sitting in a cafe eating a Thai curry, drenched and dripping when a waitress comes over and pours a glass of ice cold water down your back, giggling behind her hand. Full scale restaurant warfare broke out several times where patrons bonded over mutual drenchings (or re-drenchings more accurately) and then sharing of Thai Whisky and Water-Attack-Tactics, occasionally talks were so successful forces were united.
Shame it wouldn't really work in England because the whole waiting for midnight then small whoop and a bit of auld-langs-ayne just doesn't cut it. The fact that Thai New Year is just as fun with or without alcohol is further evidence of its superiority in the fun stakes. Unfortunately i only have one photo of New Year Thai style.....my camera isn't pressure-washer proof. My advice, if you go
to Songkran - take a waterproof camera!
Most of the photos I do have are of when we went to the Grand Palace and Wat Pho, they're are both pretty impressive in their cultural importance, size and their gleaming, glittering shininess. There's a collosal reclining buddha (15 by 46metres) with mother of pearl eyes and feet, housed in the oldest and largest temple in Thailand. There's the emerald buddha who according to legend has been around since BC and has different gold outfits depending on the season (hot, hotter, hot and wet). Then there's Thai massage at Thailand's oldest university (Wat Pho), meant to be the best in Thailand. We had a half-hour massage each for a couple of pounds, it's amazing and bizarre the way they use their whole bodies, a bit uncomfortable sometimes too.
After Bangkok we had some chill out time on the island of Koh Chang which was fantastic, we splashed out on a hut for about a tenner a night (normally stay in huts that are about 2-5 pounds a night) it was all made out of bamboo and one side of it completely rolled back for sea breezes and views, it had
an outdoor bathroom too, showering outside makes me happy! We didn't get up to too much, just eating amazing food, lying in hammocks, swimming in the sea and generally relaxing before a years contract teaching small people....aaaahh!
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