Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Getting Wet at Songkran

This week started the Songkran--or Thai New Year--Celebration. And it all centers around water. On Sunday, people go to a temple and pour water over a Buddhist monk's hands, asking for his blessing for a good year ahead.
Then the fun starts.
Everyone hits the streets and starts pouring, throwing, and shooting water at each other. People line the streets and wait for cars, open-air tuk tuks, pickup trucks, and pedestrians. Then, simply put, they drench each other.
They also throw flour on each other, which mixes for a nice, pasty mess, but no one seems to care. Even up here on the 8th floor, I can hear the car horns and the people shouting non-stop. Everyone seems to be having a good time. It's party time when everyone gets to act like a kid in a giant water fight.
I thought I might be exempt from the mayhem on my walk back from getting a massage this morning--you know, a white American woman of a certain age might not be the target for this craziness--and I did walk a while without being attacked. But before I knew it, someone had grabbed me and smeared flour on my face while two children dumped a bucket of water down my back. It seemed to be the signal that I was in on the fun, and soon I was getting even wetter.
Not a bad way to spend part of the hottest month of the year in Thailand--wet. Today is supposed to be 101 degrees with 90% humidity, and tomorrow is supposed to be even hotter. So if being drenched part of the time helps, I'm all for the fun.
And this goes on for four days! It's a week of national holidays--and even the Red Shirts are caught up in the fun, having stopped their protests to play in the water.
Time to put on dry clothes. Again.

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