As I explained in my last post, Songkran is the Thai water festival that marks their New Year. I was excited that I’d arrived just in time to experience the momentous occasion, and Wayne and I went out and got suited up with Super Soakers (or the Thai version thereof) the afternoon before in preparation.
We were warned that we should keep our money and electronics tightly sealed in plastic bags because we’d be properly soaked for nearly the whole day. We were also told that sometimes people put dye in their water, so keep that in mind when choosing our attire.
What we weren’t told is that in addition to water, people like to attack passersby with paint (or some kind of paint-like substance), particularly if the passersby are foreign. We also weren’t told to be prepared for genuine ambushes on our way into town– people actually flooded the streets to prevent us moving on the bike and didn’t budge until they’d poured sufficient buckets of water over our heads and thrown ample handfuls of paint in our faces. It was on this quick trip to the office that I deemed Songkran no place for my camera, so I got this one last shot before stowing my camera on the desk for the day.
before i arrived wayne had mentioned to me that there were a lot of pickup trucks in thailand. during the festival i began to wonder if being able to more fully participate in songkran was a major factor in a thai’s decision to purchase such a vehicle.
We spent most of the day parading around the streets soaking and being soaked; sometimes by ice water, sometimes by what appeared to be river water, sometimes by water with a pinkish tint. The people who swarmed to smear our faces often did so very gingerly, saying, “Sorry… sorry… sorry…” Others were more enthusiastic and shouted, “Happy happy!” or “Happy new year!”
Our way back to the office to grab my camera before heading home, we got stuck in traffic and were at the mercy of just about everyone, resulting in this:
The paint is concealing a terrible sunburn, and my contacts also weren’t too happy with the whole hours-of-water-in-the-face business (I began to wonder if Lasik, like the pickup industry, was booming in Thailand on account of Songkran), but all-in-all it was a ton of fun and I’m already excited for next year’s festivities.