Connect the dots

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Gonna Make Me Wet

We returned to Bangkok just in time for the raucous Songkran New Year's celebrations taking place throughout the streets. It is the hottest time of year and the water splashing offers some relief from the heat of the day. It is also symbolic of cleansing in preparation for the new year ahead. Another typical ritual includes getting smeared with a talcum based white paste to ward off evil spirits. More subdued (and traditional) celebrating involves pouring water over a Buddha and cultural shows at the temples.  

Here are some Songkran essentials to survive this soggy 3 day holiday: 

1. Don't think that just because you're a foreigner, you'll be spared. In fact, they'll go out of their way to get you drenched by pouring buckets of ice cold water over your head and on your back.
2. A small kid also doesn't give you a pass to stay dry. They'll give her a smaller spray but you'll get the full dose. 

3. Carry your money, cell phone, and camera in a plastic bag (or two). Even better, buy one of those plastic pouches they're selling everywhere.

4. If you plan on partaking in the serious water wars on Silom or Khao San Road, buy the biggest super-soaker you can find; they are merciless (and sometimes, very drunk). Otherwise, head to the shopping centers or parks where the water spraying and foam parties are contained. 

5. Don't wear that silk, dry-clean only couture dress. This is not the day to look fabulous. Stick to beach wear, tank tops and thin fabrics that dry easily or pick up one of the Hawaiian shirts that everyone else is wearing.  

6. Don't plan on going to that fine dining restaurant. Save that for a day where you know you won't have to sit in wet clothing in an air-conditioned room (if they even allow you in). 
7. Most of all, smile like the Thais and have fun. Really, when have you ever gotten smeared with wet talcum paste, hosed down with water, and screamed and laughed your head off? Think back to your childhood and running through the sprinklers at the park. 

8. If you don't want to deal with the constant soaking take a taxi to your destination or better yet stay at your hotel, order some room service, and come out 3 days later. You will have missed getting wet as well as missing all the good fun (and good luck) ringing in the Thai new year.

Happy Songkran! Wring out the old year and soak in the new one! 



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