I trained every summer for my whole childhood to prepare for this moment: Songkran. Songkran is a 3 day celebration of the Thai New Year that occurs at the peak of hot season (Mid-April). To celebrate, people spend 3 days in the streets soaking each other with water. My sister, friends and I rang in the year 2556 in Koh Phi Phi and Chiang Mai so we had a taste of two VERY different celebration styles. Sorry to disappoint everyone, but there are still no flying cars in the future.
My first day of Songkran was spent on Koh Phi Phi. On my way to the boat (see previous entry about Phi Phi), the few Thai kids who live on the island were out splashing around and being adorable. They squirted us with little guns or splashed some water on us as we headed toward the harbor. We had no idea what an absolute drunken farang (foreigner) shit show was awaiting us upon our return.
When we got back to the island around 5, the children were gone and the farangs were in full war mode. No wonder Thai people hate us. Farangs significantly outnumber Thai people on Phi Phi. As a result, Songkran in Phi Phi reflects how Western people would celebrate this holiday rather than how Thai people celebrate it. It was like war. While Thai people shoot you with a water gun and smile, cheer, and dance around, farangs drunkenly shoot a highly pressurized jet of water straight into your eyeball or ear. Their aim after drinking 2 bottles of Sangsom is unbelievably accurate. Luckily, Songkran on Phi Phi was only one day which is good because I think the Thai people would literally kill the farangs if they had to deal with one more day of that moronathon. Even though it was highly aggressive, I still had a great time, but one day was enough. We left Phi Phi the next day (some of us more hungover and wounded than others… ahem…) and flew to Chiang Mai.
Chiang Mai is an awesome city to begin with, and then to be there to celebrate Songkran was a blast. We had a big group of people, and we were there on the 3rd day of Songkran which was apparently less wild than the previous two but still really fun.
We started around 10AM and went to meet our other group of friends. They were staying at a hotel with a baby pool full of water so we loaded up with water and went to the center of the Songkran celebrations. The street was totally packed with cars, pickup trucks full of people and barrels of water and motorcycles. A lot of the barrels are filled with ice water. So, even though its like a gabajillion degrees out, Songkran can actually get really cold. Getting a bucket of ice water splashed on you 100 times eventually takes its toll, but it’s so much fun you don’t even notice. Some people also carry around bowls of powder and put in on your cheeks if they feel inclined, but it gets washed off in like 2 seconds.
Around 1:00, the foam party started. Now, we were all completely soaked, standing in street water that came about halfway up our calves and had foam pouring all over us. When the foam stopped spewing, we just kept walking/splashing/shooting. Of course, in my clumsiness, somehow my foot slid off my flip flop, and I cut the entire ball of my right foot open and broke my shoe that Meg had just brought me from the US . This was also only two days after my “performance” in Phi Phi so now I had a fat lip, and multiple open wounds. The foam mixed with street water will just clean those out right? Eh whatever, I could still walk. It was a Songkran Day Miracle that none of my self inflicted wounds got infected. Ironically, the only post Songkran damage I suffered was an ear infection from the damn farangs on Phi Phi. Happy 2556!