Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Pictures of water, people, pick up trucks, and motorbikes.

I finally got my pictures from Songkran developed and was reminded of the general uselessness of disposable cameras. Some of them turned out, but for the most part it just made me realize how much I need a decent camera.

Here's the crew I went out with on Friday- the main Songkran day. We left my house around 10am and got back about 6:30. From the left is Nicola, Johnny, Dio, Dio's friend (don't remember his name), and Finten. They were well soaked by this point.

This is the style- get a bunch of your friends into a pickup, get some big barrels, fill them with a big block of ice, a ton of water, and drive around the city. These guys also decided to bring musical instruments and serenade everyone in the vicinity whether they liked it or not. Note also the popular choice to include beer in the list of supplies.

This picture can give you an idea of just how busy it was. Everyone is stopped dead on a street that is usually quite busy but still allows for the flow of traffic. Most pedestrians walked through the traffic because it was stopped for so long. These people drove around just to get wet and throw water. Well, except for the few people who had to get to work. Too bad for them though.

Here's another wet crowd/traffic shot. It's close to where I used to live.

This was later in the afternoon when it actually started to rain while we were all throwing water on each other. It took a while for us to notice since everyone was soaked anyway. At the beginning we were the only foreigners around but at the end of the day we stopped for a beer and watched a bunch of western people play water. In the foreground is a huge barrel that the bar had out for anyone to use. Most restaurants had these types of things which is quite nice of them.

This is what we call here in Chiang Mai a 'bad idea.' This moat runs all the way around the old part of the city and you cannot see even a few inches into it. The depth varies at different points and it usually smells quite bad. It's one big square, so pretty much standing water all the way round without flowing in or out of anything else. Nicola said she saw a dead pigeon floating in it. Never mind that we were all dipping into it with our buckets to throw, it's still disgusting to immerse yourself in it. One foreigner was killed when he jumped into the moat and another (a friend of a friend) was paralyzed from the neck down because he dove in while drunk and hit his head. Swimming here is not something I've aspired to do while in Chiang Mai.

This is Johnny and I throwing water at the camera. We thought it'd be clever.

These people really wanted to throw water at us "farang, farang!" It was cold. Then they really wanted me to take their picture.

A shot of the street we settled on for beer at the end of the day. This is also right down the street from my old apartment and it's where we go on Thursday nights for our pub quiz. Lots of backpackers hang out here.

More pickup. If you notice the red buckets on the right they're the sort we used all day. Best bang for your buck.

This was towards the beginning of the day when we were the only foreigners around and people would see us coming and get very excited that they'd get to throw water on the whiteys. Us girls were a particularly coveted target. We were pretty much soaked through all day, but that didn't stop anyone from wanting to keep going.

All in all it was good fun. I'm really happy I got to experience some good Songkran fun. We only went out 2 of the 4 days. After the day I took all of the pictures we were exhausted and sunburnt, so nobody really wanted to charge out again. The day after I had a terrible case of food poisoning (I think it's the sickest I remember being in my adult life) so no water playing for me. I'd recommend anyone to come to Chiang Mai for Songkran. Apparently this is the place to be and lots of Thai people travel here for the festivities. Lots of locals leave though, because it gets quite mad. It's supposed to be where the most water is thrown, I guess it's not a big part of the new year celebration south of here.

In 2 weeks the summer break will be over. It's looking more and more likely that I'll be back at the same school, Watweruwan. I've really enjoyed summer break and being able to work with private students. I've learned a lot and have become a better teacher for it. I'm sort of dreading going back to not being able to make my own schedule, but this year I'll have my own class. I'm going to be teaching in a bilingual programme. My class is second grade and I get to teach math, science, and English. I even get a desk. This is very exciting. We'll see how it goes. The commute is ridiculous, and it's another thing that I'm not looking forward to, but you do what you have to.

Today I went to a Thai wedding, but it was kind of anticlimactic. I guess it was a Thai-foreigner wedding. All the pictures of the day are on Nicola's camera so I think I'll write about it when those come back.

I've been talking to my Mackinac buddies about their imminent return and getting sad that I won't be there too. They're all surprised that I could miss Mackinac when I live in Thailand, but I really am sad that my Mackinac summers are over. It's been good to talk to everyone to see when they're going up. One in particular that I hadn't really talked to in a long time. Also it turns out my webcam works and is a lot of fun to play with! I'm sure they'll all have a great summer and I look forward to observing from afar. A very far.

Bye bye!


Geoffrey said...

It was good to talk to you a few days ago! We will all miss you this summer but maybe we can all get together around Thanksgiving or Christmas? Many of us are downstate at the time. Enjoy the rest of your summer break--mine is about ready to begin!

Anonymous said...

Hi Sweetie,

Sorry to hear you were sick. How are you feeling now? There is nothing worse than food posioning.

Loved viewing the pictures you attached. It look tres chaud.

Booked our trip to New York City with your mom and Aunt Debbie for your mom's 50th, can't wait.

Good luck on your return from summer break and enjoy teaching the "wee" ones.

Love your and think of you each and everyday while you over in Thailand.

Love Auntie Tracy xoxox

Salene said...

Interesting to know.