Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Songkran in Ranong

The only downside to living in my new, rambling home in the country is that it makes going into 'the city' seem inappropriately daunting. This is especially ridiculous considering the 'city' is my small, college hometown of 100,000 closer to the Antarctic than to anywhere else.
Most days I fight the urge to laze on the balcony or spend the day strolling through native bush, and instead force myself into my car and to my office, where - in theory - I will do more work.
Today, I decided to let myself stay in, just me and the dog, and catch-up on my blog. Clearly, an urgent task.

Anyway, here are some snaps from over a month ago (feels like another lifetime) during Songkran in Ranong, in the south of Thailand on the border of Myanmar/ Burma. Songkran is Thai New Year and is celebrated primarily by having a giant water fight. The local teens are the main instigators, grouped into gangs - either on the back of trucks or stationary, and with various gimmicks; group costumes, iced water, paint, water with red food coloring in it, et cetera ad infinitum. ZamZam and I joined the gang outside our guesthouse, with giant hunks of ice keeping the water at a suitably squeal-worthy temperature. All the better for pouring down peoples' backs.

Our reason for coming to Ranong was to visit my friend Top, a monk, philosophy-buff and trainee teacher. I met him in November 2010 at my regular Bangkok hotel, the Atlanta, during one of his English lessons and promised to bring him back a kippah from Jerusalem. Songkran afternoon, Top drove us to the temple where he ordained as a monk and we got to cleanse Buddhist figures by pouring fragranced water over them. This is also a Songkran tradition, bringing luck and prosperity, but we didn't even know that at the time!
Later, during a walk in some local gardens, I awkwardly handed the little plastic bag to Top, with his kippah inside.

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