Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Songkran has started!

Songkran has started and the world has gone crazy.
I've known that to venture out was to get wet, but I had to get here to write to you people. I tried to take back roads, but even there people wait with buckets to soak anyone coming by. And a foreigner on a bicycle is a very popular target.
I was soaked several times on the way here just to be able to update you folks. I hope you appreciate the sacrifice. :)
So you may ask what I've been doing with this week off? Mostly relaxing, eating and seeing friends.
Yesterday I had nothing to do in the morning, so I went to some waterfalls that I'd seen on the way up to Temple on the mount, but never actually went to. They were fantastic! It was actually not just one waterfall, but a whole series of them one after another. This one here was kind of off to the side of the big ones. A very smart man had set up a hammock just off to the left of the falls and was relaxing there. I tried to take a picture with my timer of me in the falls, but I ended up slipping on the rocks and out of the picture, but later when I got to another fall, I had some Thai people take a picture of me in the fall.
These other falls were really fun because you would climb up them, and then slide down like a water slide with the water over the smooth rocks and then it dumped you about 10 feet into the water. It puts West Ed.'s water park to shame I tell you! But it was similar in some ways... if you took up the "slide" for too long, people got mad, and would sometimes even push you down.

As I said Songkran has started. Right outside the internet cafe I'm in they are dunking people in huge coolers. And there are people soaking anyone in sight with waterguns, buckets, and anything else they can find. I don't think you'll get anymore pictures because I'm not bringing my camera out in this. It would be destroyed.
Also, beer companies have set up booths EVERYWHERE and are playing loud music. Music so very loud that I can feel it vibrating inside my lungs even from inside the building. Not to mention, the building shakes with the bass. So with the nice sun, the water fight and the commercial push, it really feels like a summer fair back home.
There is a dark side to this festival though. Many people get hurt. Many people die. In Thailand somewhere between 800-1000 people die every year, and there are more than 10,000 injuries. Why? Mostly motorcycle accidents. My friend Rodney, a guy who helped us in the rebuilding the wall project at the Centre, is one of those injuries. He'd gone up the mountain yesterday (higher than I was) and on the way down hit water on the road and skidded and fell. He broke his shoulder and has some really bad road rash all down one side of his body. He'll be going for an operation to put his shoulder back in place soon. His will be one of the few accidents that has only one person involved and no alcohol. In his ambulance ride down the mountain, the ambulance stopped to pick two more people up, both worse than Rodney.
So remember, stay off the motorcycles during Songkran! As far as I know, I'm better off on my bicycle, because I go a lot slower, have better control and can fit in smaller spaces. So don't worry about me! I usually walk in the Songkran infested places anyways!
Tomorrow and Friday I'm going to go "play" for real, around the moat where all the hard-cores are. It's also the first day of the official fesitval, so I'm quite excited!
Only 5 days left. Incredible. See you all soon! Don't be surprised if I'm soaking wet when I get off the plane, as the festival will not be over when I leave. I really hope not to get soaked on my way to the airport!
I'll try to get in to update this once more, but I won't endanger my electronic equipment again, so no more pictures!

2 Comments:

At 8:42 PM, Anonymous stonejewel said...

Agh!! I wish I was there!!

 
At 2:21 AM, Blogger Bethany said...

Told you you should have come!

 

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