Waterworld

Greetings from Chiang Mai, where I spent the last 10 hours soaking, dripping wet.

When they said that people were crazy about Songkran here, they weren’t kidding. I arrived on the overnight train from Bangkok at around 8 am. I checked into a guest house and went for a wander. People were out in droves, setting up booths along one of the two main streets here – parallel to the eastern rim of the moat that surrounds the old town here. Everywhere you went, there were enormous water machine guns…or simple plastic buckets on sale. At around 10:30, it started – people lined up all along the moat, filling their soaking machines of choice with filthy water from the moat and spraying/pouring/throwing it at each other and anyone who passed by. By mid-afternoon the festival had reached a fever pitch. Cars, motorcycles, tuk-tuks, bicycles, and anything else on wheels cruised the roads along the moat, with everyone but the driver armed with some water-spewing device. They and the people who lined the streets proceeded to soak each other, nonstop, for the next 10 hours. I’ve never seen anything like it. Businesses shut down so that everyone could partake in the Great Soak. If you wandered away from the main festivities, the streets were practically deserted. Every single person in town was at Songkran.

I managed to take a few photos, though approaching the street with anything as fragile as a camera was at your own risk – I barely saved my camera from a giant bucket of water (I turned and took it on my back instead).

Despite the madness of the day (or because of it?) I met a Dutch woman who’s traveling through SE Asia for a *year*. Makes me feel like a chump. Anyway, I’m off to meet her for some delicious spicy Thai dinner. More l8r.