Friday, April 18, 2008

I love Songkran

Can't let go??I love festivals, I think it brings out the best in people. When we booked our tickets we didn’t realize we’d land in the middle of Songkran since I assumed the festivities would only start just before we left Chiangmai on April 12.

Apparently we were wrong as while the people in the city weren’t allowed to throw water until Saturday, the villagers started the festivities a week before Songkran. As we were making our way to the forest, the children began throwing buckets of water at us. I must say the water was damn refreshing though the first time you get hit its pretty shocking.

While the camera escaped the first few hits, on our way back the children were out in full force and we got fully drenched. Unfortunately I found my camera drenched and the digital view haywire. After drying the camera and removing the batteries and memory card, we left it to recover from the days water assult. Now you must think I hate the children. But how can you hate such a fun festival? Nah I can’t blame the children for getting songkranified.

Having no camera to worry about, I decided to join the children the next day. After having lunch at a village and watching some kids throw water at passing cars, I walked up to one of the kids and tried to steal a bucket from them, realizing I had no ammo I ran back and stole the bucket from the kid on the other side and threw water at the kids. It was so fun, the gal I stole the bucket from kept refilling my bucket for me.

IN between the water wars

Apparently Songkran is hard to contain, on Friday after sundrying my camera, I finally took my baby out into the city only to find the city all geared into songkran mode. They had begun to throw water a day earlier.

So we spent most of the day running away from them. Everytime we saw a water throwing taking place, I’d stir the bike into one of the alleys. Oh yes we rented a bike on our last 2 days in CHiangmai and that was one of the best things we did. More on that later.

Everytime we passed one of the water attackers we’d scream

noooo don’t throwwwwwwwwwwww

Hey youIt worked most of the time. Anyway after watching people throw water the whole day and dodging them, we decided it was about time we did the same. So we stopped the bike at one place to catch some shots. Some kids were swinging into the canal from a tyre tied to this huge tree by the bank of the canal.

Splashing awayWe finally decided to go back and leave our cameras so we could play as well but we landed else where first. Just metres away from home, we got drenched by a group of people. Luckily the bags were fine.

While I was waiting for Praveen who had gone to lock up our cameras, to get back, a few westerners turned up fully drenched armed with water guns.

Him : hey you’re all dry
me : oh no, not for long we’re about to head out to the canals.
him : ah then I won’t need to drench you.
Me : nah we’ll get drenched soon.
him : sawasdeeka – have fun.

We dropped of the cameras (unfortunately I forgot the hp was still in the bag and it died from the assault) and went in search of buckets. We decided the buckets were more forceful then the water guns.

Falling!!! We bought our bucket from a Punjabi gal. Praveen asked her if she was from India – she told her my parents are from India, I’m Thai! Love her answer!

So many thai traders thought we were from India and we kept telling them no we’re Malaysians! We’re neighbours.

We found a place to park the bike and went looking for water. Most of the bars had put out barrels of water on their pavement for people to throw. We started throwing water at everyone from the guy standing next to us to the ladies driving past the road.

Songkran definitely brings people together. We made friends with the locals and foreigners alike. A thai lady taught me how to draw water from the canal. Everytime Praveen’s bucket fell into the canal, someone will help us get it back. We ended up standing next to a Thai family, in between throwing water at the people on the streets, we’d throw water on each other. It was so funny. We even met one of the guys from the bus and threw water on him.

One grumpy old westerner did stop by to tell us not to throw water. Seriously if you didn’t like the festival you should sit at home.

Splashed! The Thai family turned out to be half Malaysian, the husband being a Malaysian from Malacca and his wife was Thai. They were down just for Songkran to visit her grandma. What a coincidence eh. Unfortunately we were leaving Chiang Mai the next day.

Oh the Thais are more curious of Asians coz the city is run over by foreigners, so expect lots of curious looks and questions. We ended up being one of the last people to leave. By the time we got on the bike, we were hungry and freezing cold.

Songkran was so much fun, I’ll write more on the religious side of it later. This is one festival everyone should take part in. just make sure you secure your camera with plastic bags. Its better to be safe than sorry.

I just might throw a Songkran party in the future! ;p


Da Rodent said...

WOW.. this sounds like fun. total fun.. :) It would be fun to have something like this happening in chennai every summer.. hmm..

Inder said...

thai version of holi?! :)

gina said...

Remember to invite me to your Songkran party! :D

visithra said...

da rodent : it would be fun if it happened here!

inder : i guess so - it coincides with tamil new year actually

gina : i will ;p