• Saturday, April 14, 2007

    Songkran is here, Happy New Year to Thailand!!

    Samakee Road was heaving. Every twenty metres or so a gang on each side of the road, adults and kids, armed with buckets, hose pipes, tubs, water guns and white powder. Open backed trucks crammed with revelers armed to the teeth with water dispensing devices were in full battle with the street gangs. Traffic was moving slow, cars being forced to stop and accept a good dose of water and powder.

    We pulled up and resisted the invitation to open the windows and get drenched as the first gang emptied its receptacles on the car and smeared white hands on the windows and bodywork. Their ammunition spent I opened the window - payback time. The advantage of tinted windows meaning they hadn't seen the pump action three litre water gun I was holding in the foot well. The window lowered enough to get the barrel out and then SPLAT! Half a dozen soaked. Success.

    Or so I'd thought. A small kid I'd not noticed still had half a bucket of water at the ready and try as I might I couldn't get the gun back in and the window up before most of his offering came rushing through the gap. We were soaked!

    And so it goes. The annual Songkran festival is upon us and in full swing. For five days the entire nation is one giant water fight. If you leave your home there's no escaping it. They're everywhere and it's all in good humour. The biggest celebration in Bangkok is down at Khao San Road where thousands of foreigners and Thais get stuck in to it with all manner of water guns and buckets.

    Sadly the death toll for this holiday is usually quite high. Last year the death toll for the five day holiday was something like 500, down from previous years. From Wednesday to this morning 100 people had lost their lives, mainly through road and drink related accidents.

    Songkran is here, Happy New Year to Thailand!!

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