Monday, April 14, 2008

I'm a convert

It was without enthusiasm that I set out with family for the start of the Songkran water festival. My lead lined boots and I shuffled miserably up the road, a smile pasted to my face just to prove to the family that I do know how to have fun. A day earlier, an AK-47 seemed the best possible option, but on the actual day, I declared myself a pacifist. I would not arm myself. I was going to make a political stand. (In truth I hoped that the combination of unarmed, bespectacled - I'm having problems with the jellyfish contact lenses - and the status of a farang woman would discourage anyone from dousing me. Yeah, I can hear your withering laughs from here...)

In Chiang Mai all the action is at the moat which surrounds the old town so we walked from our hotel, purchasing water guns on the way for Husband, Son and Daughter.

We got progressively wetter as we approached our destination and by the time we'd taken a position by the moat the guns had been abandoned in favour of buckets and we were drenched. We were totally soaked through ... to our skin; like we'd been dunked in the swimming pool, fully clothed. It was somewhere at the beginning of this process that I realised. It dawned on me that it was a good idea because quite suddenly the heat was no longer an issue; my temperature was comfortable for the first time in weeks.

It was pandemonium: total madness. Young person music pumped out of a pub with a 'it all sounds the same to me' beat. Everyone was armed with buckets and a variety of water guns. A motorcade of trucks, cars, tuk tuks and motorbikes crept along the roads, hurling gallons of iced water at the hundreds of people lining the roads, who drew water out of the moat or pumps by the roadside and threw it back. People screamed and squealed with laughter as they were sprayed with freezing cold water and rushed to fire back.

I really enjoyed myself though. For two hours we took part in a sort of happy warfare. There is nowhere else I can imagine this happening without fights breaking out. It was great fun for two hours, but not five days! I had the brilliant idea of photographing the spectacle through a plastic bag and I've got lots of truly dreadful hazy pictures but I may post them when I get to Bangkok anyway.

Back in Bangkok tomorrow. Boy, will I be glad to see my laptop!


Yvonne said...

That sounds like brilliant fun! You're right, it would get very old after five days though. Safe come to Bangkok!

Lane said...

Glad you had fun. Iced water?? I know it's hot there but ouch:-)

Carol and Chris said...

Hehehehe.....I thought you might enjoy it once you got there!! Your right though, one day would be fine but five is just waaay to long. It was lovely to get out the apartment yesterday without getting soaked!!

See you soon

C x

Leigh said...

I sit here, with an icy easterly wind blasting outside, and I'm shivering as I read this post!

Well done for enjoying it, JJ! Good for you!

Juliette M said...

JJ - I've emailed you about the Racers' meet, but still can't sign into that blog. Could you update me please? Thanks!

L-Plate Author said...

I think it sounded great fun for a couple of hours.

Just to let you know that when you get back to blighty and to the novel racers meet, I don't do rain never mind water! xx

JJ said...

Yvonne, thanks hon.

Lane, yes the iced water wasn't much fun. That was the time I used 'smile pasted onto face'

Carol, Oh yes, definitely, I like not being soaked better!

Oh Leigh, really? Is it that cold?

Juliette, sorry. I've just found your email lurking in a different inbox! No idea why! I've sent an invite now.

LPlate, ha, no worries, I left my 'water is fun, joker' sense of humour in Chiang Mai.

Mel said...

How fantastic you were in the thick of it! Hope you love Chiang Mai as much as I do, expect to see lots of pics soon!