Songkran can be known in English as 典he Water Festival・ Inside the Buddhist temples, priests conduct ceremonies pouring water over people痴 hands while chanting a prayer.
On the streets, however, is where all of the action is.
Today, my Thai assistant and i also lost and about looking at rooms in hotels, as my lease comes to an end tomorrow and that i are already searching for a smaller, cheaper place. We looked over four today alone, understanding that brings us up to 9 or 10 (I forget exactly) throughout the last week, plus innumerable calls.
While walking out from the parking area of one hotel, I had been suddenly splashed with water, and i also don稚 mean a sprinkle, I am talking about a bucketful. I was shocked, obviously, after which quickly remarked that it being Songkran, I will have known better. My Thai assistant also got pretty wet. We walked about 20 or 30 feet, and all of a rapid, wham! Another bucket water. The actual only thing you can do is laugh and try and wipe the water from the eyes before it takes place again.
We stood inside the lobby of some other hotel, so that as it takes place, there is a small grouping of 8 young people about 20 feet away, laughing hilariously, each equipped with a bucket, a big pot, or even a water gun. These were in their 20s, not kids, and many types of were completely soaked. Two were women, the rest guys. Women were wearing identical purple sarongs, and appeared to be hotel employees. They were standing on the sidewalk, watching the road. Each time a motorcycle came by, they flagged it down, and doused the rider and passenger. Same thing for that 3-wheeled open taxis (tuk-tuks). All were drenched. Occasionally, a truck (砥te・for you Aussies) would come by, filled up with young adults in the back. The trucks always stopped in front of the group, and they sprayed one another. Each individual in the rear of your truck was equipped with something to throw water with, or squirt with. In a truck, there was 15 people, which range from about 6 to 26, in the back. Soon after minutes, your truck moved on, searching for another group.
This holds on all day, every day, for around Five days, I do believe. This is the first day.
I saw one young woman who’d two large, yellow water tanks on her back, plus a hose leading to a huge plastic water gun which she held with two hands. Within my day, a water pistol would be a little black plastic thing that you had to refill every minute. Not these babies, though, she was easily carrying 10 litres water.
Even as were watching safely out your window, a senior Muslim man with long white beard, white robe, and white cap walked by. Nobody squirted him.
Then a mature Thai lady pushing a food cart walked slowly by, pushing her heavy cart, which includes two large bicycle wheels, and two smaller wheels. She is wet. She eyed this group warily, and sure enough, the 2 women squirted her.
I left the protection of the hotel lobby and dashed next door to a Bank, where I acquired even more money. My ATM card, that’s in my wallet, was wet, but the machine accepted it anyway. Once i experienced my money, I put the receipt and cash within my pocket, and transformed. I noticed two young women, again in their early twenties, around the fourth floor from the building down the street having a big tub of water and a handful of saucepans, and so they were letting fly at anything appropriate 40 feet below.
Just then two dark skinned men walked past the gang, and they got squirted. I noticed there were numerous Arabic signs around the buildings, and realized they should be Arabs, even though they were not wearing traditional jelabas, these folks were wearing Western clothes. They got squirted, not badly, but got angry, and yelled in the number of Thais. So of course they got squirted again. Among the Arab men then ran quickly away from range, however the other turned his back, obviously very angry, and walked stiffly away. So naturally, the Thais squirted him again.
And that i was thinking, 滴ow dumb is it possible to be?・You come to abroad the location where the customs are completely different, and also you get angry using the locals since they’re following their traditions.
My assistant and i also walked in the street, at risk of the Skytrain station. We’d to pass through by another group of teenagers, and that i discovered another area of the ritual. I’d pointed out that many taxis and cars were smeared with something white, that i first thought was bird poop, then, since i have saw a lot of it, thought must be paint or clay. Wrong. Turns out it痴 just flour, and it痴 smeared on your own face for good luck.
Once we walked into this second group, one of the teenage girls attempted to smear the powder on my face. This is after four others had each thrown a bucket water at me. Individuals were laughing and giggling and achieving a grand time. A fifteen year old girl reached in my face, with her hand covered in this white goop. However grabbed her hand, and moved it around in front of her face, and he or she squealed and laughed and backed away quickly.
Then I got another bucket water from the rear, drenching my backpack and my buttocks.
We stepped onto, but another group doused us.
At this point, as being a normal male, I noticed yet another cultural difference. If this have been North America or Australia, every one of the girls might have been wearing T-shirts, and none might have worn a bra. A huge wet T-shirt contest. Not too in Thailand. Individuals were appropriately dressed for a normal outing, as well as the Thai women wore a bra. My assistant, for instance, was wearing a small business suit, and she knows about Songkran.
Eventually, we achieved the main street, and my assistant squished her way up the steps for the elevated station. There is a KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken) nearby, so I made a decision to head there, since it was now dinnertime, and that i haven稚 had an investment of Grease and Cold Fries for 7 or 8 months now.
Four with the KFC employees were out front with a big bucket and small pots. These were in uniform, you will find, these folks were dousing everyone.
I entered the restaurant, and immediately started shivering, because the place was air conditioned. Outside, it had been a warm 33 degrees C, but inside was only 23 or 24. Being completely wet, I had been cold. I pointed out that there have been two employees with mops wiping the floors, and that I was, myself, leaving a trail water while i squished my strategies by. I made my approach to the counter, where the menu may be the usual stuff, plus a few spicier things for the Thais, and ordered my usual three pieces and fries plus a Pepsi. I reached for my money, and had difficulty extracting it, as it was all stuck together inside a wad during my wet pocket. The ATM receipt was just a blob of pulp.
When I got to my table using the food, I took the wad of money and dried each note using a serviette. I quickly opened my wallet; I keep my charge cards and frequent flyer cards plus some paper notes in separate plastic pockets. Each card was wet. Water had penetrated into the wallet and into each plastic sleeve. Amazing.
After dinner, I hailed a taxi cab, and made it returning to my hotel without further incident. Once there, I literally wrung water away from my clothes, and then chose to throw my way through the laundry.
Making this Thailand痴 New Year. Sanook mahk!
Happy Year. Now quick, duck!
I gone to live in a fresh, cheaper hotel, and spent 6 hours unpacking and establishing three computers along with a network, having the Internet working, etc.
I spent the whole day programming by evening was pretty tired. I’d a leisurely dinner of Thai food within the restaurant in the hotel, and then decided that I needed to stretch my legs. Ever since i was getting lacking money, I made a decision to produce a trip to an ATM the evening痴 project. I needed noticed on the map earlier that Silom, one of the primary streets of Bangkok, was apparently within walking distance of my new hotel, so chose to head that-a-way. I knew there’d be plenty of shops and restaurants and many ATMs there, and so I could stop to get a Pepsi somewhere before heading back.
It痴 still Songkran, the Thai Year Water Festival. I read inside the Bangkok Post how the festival lasts different lengths of your time around Thailand, varying from 72 hours to five. Friday night was the last night of the Songkran celebrations in Bangkok.
Now at this stage, someone should have taken me roughly by the shoulders and pushed me resistant to the wall, and slapped my face a couple of times to get attention. 典his. Is. The. Last. Night. Of. A. Five. Day. Water. Festival. Have it?・br />
Um, well no, not really. I mean, I just read what within the newspaper, but the things they implied was lost in translation.
I knew there was clearly an opportunity I may get wet, therefore i removed my wallet and didn稚 bother with my backpack. I’ve been carrying around a backpack with a backup hard drive effortlessly my work with it, in case the hotel burns down or collapses in a earthquake while I知 out. (Hey, I used to be a Boy Scout, so we were taught 鄭lways Be ready!・. But in my other excursion, the padded cardboard box protecting my hard disk got pretty soggy, so Friday, I decided to forego the backpack.
I took a business card with all the hotel name and address, and my very own card with my name onto it (just in case someone found my body), my ATM card, and the little money I’d (about $16). I took some of the map, memorizing the streets in this region, then folded the map, and set it within my backpack, which I intentionally left out. I’ve found that, if you are planning to understand more about a strange city during the night, it痴 far more sa-nook (fun) with no map, and anyway, being a former Boy Scout, We have an infallible sense of direction.
I made my way to avoid it from the hotel, found a couple of rocks in case of dogs, making my way to the key street, several blocks away, where I discarded the rocks. They were unnecessary. The lane I desired was directly across the street from which I used to be standing, right next to the Citibank headquarters, based on my map. But there was six lanes of traffic along with a canal between me also it, therefore i had to walk a couple of blocks to the nearest intersection, where I really could have a pedestrian bridge over the road.
Thailand has numerous catchphrases that have been used through the years: 鄭mazing Thailand・ 鏑and of Smiles・ and 摘xpect the Unexpected・come immediately in your thoughts.
I learned years back that 摘xpect the Unexpected・applies to all stages in Thailand. In western countries, you can be confident steps being the same distance apart, and all sorts of same height. Not in Thailand. Likelihood is, the step height will be different from what you expect, there is going to be a minumum of one or two steps that are either vastly taller or vastly shorter. If you池e not careful, you are able to fall flat on your own face going upstairs (I’ve done this) since your foot unexpectedly trips on a step that is too tall. Going downstairs, I always store the railing and peer through my bifocals trying to determine in advance if I知 likely to break my neck.
Whatever the case, I managed to get over the bridge, then walked down again sleep issues of the road until I came across the lane alongside Citibank, just two false starts, that turned out to be driveways for other buildings. As I知 standing facing this narrow lane, deciding easily really want to do this at night, a tall foreigner having a German accent inquired about if I spoke English. 添es,・I replied, 的知 from Canada.・br />
泥o you understand where one can eat in a restaurant without getting wet?・br />
Um, well, so far as I understand, to nibble on in almost any restaurant without getting wet. We was on several wavelengths, so he toddled off one of the ways, and that i toddled off down the lane.
Turning the corner, I saw a pickup truck ahead, filled up with young adults with buckets of water, stopped beside the street. Oh, oh, what direction to go, what to do? I stood in the doorway, hidden from view. A new woman came walking away from a side lane, and looked startled at seeing me hiding in a dark doorway. I pointed in the truck the street and yelled 鉄ongkran!・and she laughed and walked on. I’d the thought that if a woman was unafraid about walking down a dark lane alone at night, I, an early Boy Scout, could certainly make my well beyond your truck. Therefore i stepped out, and just at that moment, the18 wheeler pulled away.
I walked along the lane, which twisted and curved around, and as I passed by an intersection, another truck came around the corner and i also got squirted a couple of times. I stepped onto, and was about just to walk past a condominium when I heard someone laughing. Finding out about, I saw four teenagers using a big bucket plus some pots, so I quickly crossed the road and continued on. I went to a principal street without further incident, and continued walking towards Silom.
Roughly I figured.
I used to be looking for Convent Road, that i knew would take me directly to Silom. I stumbled on an intersection, as well as the sign said this is Convent Road, nevertheless it wasn’t going generate income thought it will go. So, unlike most men, Gurus for directions. A woman came along, and that i said 典a-nohn Silom tee nai?・which means 迭oad Silom where?・which is the place i hear you ask a matter in Thai. She pointed across the street, matching what the sign said. So my infallible feeling of direction was pointing me 90 degrees off from where it ought to have pointed; it was pointing this-a-way also it should have been pointing that-a-way. Oh well, seems to me Irrrve never ended up getting all of my Scout merit badges.
I walked down Convent Road towards Silom, and passed through an area of four or 5 restaurants alongside. This is one of the great pleasures of Thailand. The sidewalk was full of tables, over 100 people, with barely any room to squeeze through. But the smells are incredible・all that Thai food, cooked immediately all the time, just fantastic. I looked inside the restaurants, and they counseled me empty. Everybody was outside experiencing the atmosphere. I love the smells of Thai food, but I can稚 take in the spicy stuff.
I got to Silom finally and was surprised about all the people. There was lots of people, within the road. Silom has six lanes having a large median at the heart, which includes huge pylons supporting the SkyTrain. There was clearly an individual lane of traffic, moving very slowly, mostly pickups filled up with people furnished with water pistols and buckets and pots of water. The sidewalks and other lanes were filled up with people doing the same thing. Loud rock music was playing from the 3 directions.
Oh, now I am aware. The past night of a five day water festival. Party time.
I had been around the south side of Silom. Where I needed being was on the north side, which can be where the majority of the restaurants are where I knew there was several ATMs. The SkyTrain station was right above me, and 50 feet off to the right of where I was standing, was obviously a long stairway up to the station. The situation was, there have been over a hundred people between me as well as the stairway, plus they were all armed.
Oh well, in for anything, set for a pound.
I slowly made my way through everyone else for the stairway, getting squirted a couple of times, however, not too badly, considering.
I climbed the steps, didn稚 fall in my face, generating it towards the platform. Standing there, I had a bird痴 eye view of the throngs of individuals. I moved around somewhat, watching from different places, making my way along the stairs about the north side.
The group was thicker on the north side, and i also found myself being pushed along through the people as they moved into a side lane en masse. OK, I had no particular destination at heart, so I just went combined with flow.
Forty-one years ago, I been walking along a main street working in london, England, at exactly 5PM, when out of the blue, countless people came rushing at me. Arrived to go home from work, and everybody left simultaneously, and rushed at me. I got trapped, turned around, and was pushed and prodded until I used to be running along with them. We entered the Tube entrance, and down three incredibly long old fashioned escalators, until we had been 200 feet underground. I obtained pushed up against a ticket booth, where I needed to give some funds for a ticket to someplace I knew nothing about, after which pushed on the platform, and when the train came, pushed to the centre of your carriage. It absolutely was three stops before I could force my solution of the train, then I was confronted with the possibilities of determining things i was going to do 200 feet underground inside a huge city I knew nothing about. I still understand that experience 41 years later, but it痴 filed under 擢un A few things i Have Done・ not 滴orrible Experiences I Have Endured・
Now it had been happening again.
The lane was narrow, and there were countless people. Along the sides were plenty of young people equipped with buckets of water, water pistols, then one guy had a hose, which he squirted on everyone. In seconds, I was drenched. There is an amazing amount of noise, rock music, people laughing and squealing once they got splashed. I kept my practical my pockets, protecting my money, while i was pushed and squeezed by individuals deeper and deeper in to the lane.
I had been squirted in the side, and the water entered my eyes. I had to put my hands on along side it of my face to safeguard my eyes from all of the water.
At some time, I became of look up and saw, like a freeze frame, a bucketload water coming at us, a meter above our heads. I ducked, and sure enough, my back was drenched. Then moments later, two more bucketloads struck me in the rear.
Just then, I heard some tall people yelling at one another, saying something such as 典his is stupid, the way we get out?・I couldn稚 predict my glasses, since they were steamed up and all sorts of wet, nevertheless they were obviously foreigners. The tallest one started bulling his solution toward the main street, resulting in the people around me to get rid of their balance and squeeze even closer together. This is a dangerous situation; this is the way people get crushed and trampled. Fortunately, it eased up as the group adjusted as well as the bulls made their way to avoid it with the lane.
The crush of individuals eased a little, then one snowy splashed my back. I turned around, plus a young guy was scooping cold water out of a huge cooler filled up with Cokes. I yelled 哲am kaeng!・(ice) at him, and that he laughed and said yes, and provided to throw another bowl of cold water at me. I declined, so he changed his angle slightly and threw it behind a new girl who promptly squealed.
At one point, a guy offered me a fierce hug and yelled 滴appy New Year!・in my face from six inches away.
The group kept moving forward further to the lane, and i also chose them. I knew there is a street parallel to Silom, so I thought I would simply go to the end from the lane, and take a taxi home from there, and lose focus on in regards to the ATM for tonight. But because I went further, the crowd stopped moving and i also found that this particular lane would be a stalemate. I stood there, looking back at 2000 people, wondering basically had the power to accomplish this again. Suddenly I acquired squirted again. I had been standing close to a bar having an open door, so I quickly ducked within and stood dripping within their entrance.
The bar was mostly empty, and loud rock music was playing. I squished and squelched over to the bar, and ordered a Pepsi Cola.
The woman reached for any Sprite plus a Coke making like she would pour them together in to a glass.
Whoa! Misunderstanding here. I yelled within the music, 哲o, just Pepsi Cola・
She held up the Sprite.
哲o!・I yelled, 撤epsi!・br />
She held up the Coke.
I nodded my head, and he or she poured the Coke into a glass with ice, and brought it to me where I used to be waiting for the bar.
I reached into my pockets for my money and discovered I’d no money. Well, I still had some coins and my ATM card plus a blob of pulp that in the previous life ended up business card printing, however the bills were gone. That guy who was hugging me was probably pinning my arms while his light-fingered friend was lifting my money. Irrrve never felt a thing.
I got out the coins I still had. The drink was 60 baht ($2) but all I’d was 40 baht and some cents. I pushed it at her, then yelled 適amoy!・(thief) and showed her I needed you can forget money. She looked uncertain as to what to do, but then made a motion which clearly meant 敵ive me more money・ I yelled 適amoy・again, and underwent my little pantomime again, then suddenly pointed out that the loud rock music I used to be listening to was Spanish Techno-Rock. As well as the name with the bar was 哲oriega痴・
Expect the unexpected.
Here I am, standing dripping wet, playing Spanish Techno-Rock, inside a Spanish bar in Thailand, without money, not able to buy a glass or two. How weird is that?
There was a Spanish-looking guy, having a pony-tail, standing close to the doorway. Four to five young guys came in, and he stopped them, and asked them in Thai the things they wanted. They said they wished to make use of the toilet, and he said okay, but he earned them leave their guns on the counter. I知 thinking, case just like a Western movie. The youngsters place their water pistols on the counter and made their method to the washroom at the rear of the bar. After they left, I figured which was advisable, maybe I really could dry out just a little, and so i went back too, but there have been no paper towels with no hand dryers. Sigh.
After i returned for the bar for my drink, Gurus the Spanish-looking guy if he was the owner, Noriega. He was quoted saying, yes, he was, and he had escaped from jail coupled with a facelift. He’s probably told that joke a thousand times, however laughed. He told me that his father was from Chile together married a Thai woman, and that he, Noriega, was born in Thailand and spent all his life here. And he didn稚 speak Spanish, only Thai and English.
I told him a kamoy had my money, i didn稚 have enough to cover that coffee, and that he asserted was OK, then reached behind the bar for his wallet, and got a 100 baht note (about $3) to offer to me for any taxi home. I thanked him, declined, and told him I used to be walking distance away. Then he showed me the back door, which triggered a car park, and said that I really could steer clear of the crush out front by going out like that.
And so i did that, perhaps the biggest issue was, that lane lead back to Silom, where there were lots of people. Sigh.
I stood there, watching the action, and planning my next move. I didn稚 want to get distracted by a crush again. As I was watching, a tall, skinny German-looking lady, maybe 65 yrs . old, appeared in front of me and squealed and laughed. Someone had just squirted her in the back. She made her way throughout the lane in front of me, and someone squirted her again, and she squealed again, so then two more people squirted her.
There were stairs resulting in the SkyTrain station, and right near them, an ATM. Only 200 people between me and them. Sigh.
I stepped out onto the sidewalk on Silom, and very shortly, a man stepped directly in front of me holding a little plastic bowl half-filled with white goop, the flour slurry. He slopped some on both my cheeks and grinned at me; I reached into his bowl and smeared his face, too, and he said 滴appy New Year!・ I said 滴appy Year to you personally too!・and turned slightly and saw a new woman grinning at me. She slopped some goop on my face and I did the same to her, and that we exchanged greetings, most of us grinning like maniacs, encompassed by noise and hustle-bustle.
And today I recieve it. The past nights a five day water festival. Happy New Year.
And I知 taking into consideration the silly ritual we practice in Western society where everyone wears an event hat and stands around drinking beer or wine until near to midnight, and then everyone counts down from 10 to a single, then kisses anyone close to them, then blows a loud horn. The Thai approach is far ons amazon more sa-nook.
To create a long story longer, I achieved the ATM, climbed the stairs to the station platform without damaging myself, purchased a 30 cent ticket, rode one stop, but got off near my hotel. Then i discovered two supermarkets i hadn稚 known about, therefore i stopped and acquired several supplies. Another cultural difference: both stores sold milk from the litre, but neither sold large containers of orange juice, only small drinking boxes. But both stores had 8 or 10 types of green tea extract in litre bottles. I passed.
I walked two blocks to my lane, and stopped to grab a couple of rocks to throw at the dogs, if necessary. It had been necessary. As I approached the end of the lane, two dogs came bounding out, barking furiously. How come they always have to become guard dogs? Why can稚 they be guard cats or guard canaries? Maybe because saying 的 was attacked by a guard canary・just doesn稚 have the identical ring.
In your own home inside the hotel, I had been shocked when I looked within the mirror. My hair was plastered to my head, my face and neck were covered in flour, my shirt and shorts were dripping wet, and had many flour blotches. I saw my nipples and chest hair with the T-shirt. I was a walking wet T-shirt contest
I took a chilly shower effortlessly my clothes on. Yet another cultural difference: in Canada, if you have a cold shower, someone will have to call an ambulance and treat you for hypothermia. In Bangkok, flu shower is in fact quite pleasant.
Anyway, I知 a 堵lass is half full sort of guy・ not just a 堵lass is half empty guy・ Taking stock from the situation, I had a neat adventure, accomplished achieve to getting money from an ATM, transpired some roads I hadn稚 been before, enjoyed some wonderful smells, got plastered (literally), determined several convenience stores conveniently located near my hotel. And all it require me to pay was $16.
Happy New Year.