Thai new year celebration
13.04.2008 - 15.04.2008
SONGKRAN is here! If you don't know what this is, you're lucky. At least that's what Patty and Ren think. Songkran is the new year terror... er... festival in Thailand, Laos and Cambodia. Why a terror? The traditional celebration involves playfully spraying water on each other as a way to cheer the new year and cool off. And some white powder gets splashed around as well. Not sure what the while stuff signifies.
Get the idea?
Now, imagine you're on a scooter travelling 30-40 miles an hour and someone throws a huge bucket of ice cold water at your face. THROW!! As fast and as hard as they can. And its a whole bucket. Scooters diving and darting everywhere to avoid being hit. You're just trying to stay on your path to avoid a huge accident. And when we weren't moving, we were stuck in a traffic jam caused by the water revellers throwing water, slapping white powder on each other, and blocking traffic. Its reminiscent of a huge, drug induced rave except you are forced to take the drugs and join in. In fact, because you're a foreigner, you're targetted. You can't get away. Songkran is everywhere. And it lasts 3 horrific days. Everything you might have wanted to do is out the window because mobs of wild, dirty people stop you on the road, sidewalk, everywhere to have their fun on you.
Could it be fun? Sure if you're a sadist and you're the one throwing the water at unsuspecting drivers. Or if you're 20-something and you just want to party for 3 days in dirty, water-filled streets. But it sucks for everyone else. Nor suprisingly, Songkran is the #1 period for road fatalities in Thailand. TV seems to urge folks to use restraint and only politely splash water on others who are willing. That's not how it works. Let's be clear: Patty and Ren didn't care of it. Think carefully about your trips to this part of the world during Songkran. If you're not keen to party Songkran style for 3 days (day and night), you'll be held hostage.
By the way, we returned to Bangkok during Songkran and had to cancel our sightseeing.