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Song Cran April 2003

Now Song Cran is over ( Thai water festival, at the time of the old Thai New Year ) and the rainy season has started in earnest.

Song Cran used to be sedate Thai festival in the past where very kind people would sprinkle a little water over folk who just happened to be walking by in the heat of the mid day sun, having first asked permission to do so of coarse. However these days it has turned into the biggest water fight in the world. I have seen reports blaming the Flangs (foreigner's, it originally meant French man but now it refers to any white person) in the past for hyping this holiday, these have quite obviously been written by people who have little or no understanding at all of Thai culture or mentality. First you have to know that Thai's love to party and they will do so at he drop of the hat laterally any time any place any where as the song goes. In this area it is held at a slightly different time than just about anywhere else in Thailand so that means it lasts at least twice as long.

This year with Noi having had a bout of pneumonia and still recovering ( not SARS by the way ) I sure didn't want to let her get wet. Therefore it was early trips to the local market at around 7 to 8am before the festival revelers where up and about having fun using just about any method you can imagine of to drench anybody that comes within range. This is not as bad as it would normally sound because the temperature at this time of year is in the mid thirties or higher bettween 90 & 100 F.  That being the case it really doesn't matter if you are soaking wet so long as you don't have to go anywhere that has the air conditioning on the go full blast. On the actual day which if I remember correctly was the 19/04/03 around here, my friend Mr. Herbert the German plumber had said that he would look after Black ( Noi's Son ) for the day, his son and Black could both play with the water from inside his gates in safety. I dropped off Black at Herbert's house at about 9am that morning and I was due to pick him up at 5pm that afternoon. The 9am bit was fine as the revelers had not got under way by that time, however 5pm, for sure was a mistake which I will remember for next year as at this time the party was still in full swing. Getting to the main road Suchumvite was not so bad but once there you found yourself in a battle zone with the infantry all around and the tanks where being played out by pickup trucks with a 45 gallon barrel of water on the back for ammunition. People where jumping in and out of the trucks hurling water anywhere and everywhere then sprinting off to catch the slow moving traffic. Most of these people would stand a good chance of being arrested for being drunk and disorderly at any other time of the year but this is Song Cran in Pattaya and in many cases the police join in the fun. On a Song Cran some years ago in Bangkok I was walking up Lat Pharo Road passing a police box and having passed it I found myself with a bucket of water being poured down the back of my neck by a policeman who must have thought I looked a little hot as I was passing. By the time I completed the walk home I was dry. I just can't imagine that in NY city but I do know it gets very hot there sometimes in the summer months. To put SARS into perspective I believe 600 people died over the Song Cran period in Thailand this year, this being mostly drink related.

In the past it has been known before being happily married to Noi, for the want of a better word, for me to frequent the odd bar or two. Now there the girls take the party to a new height, taking great delight in pouring a bucket of iced water down the back of you neck while you where quietly pondering what ever. Now believe me this is a shock to the system, water and a lot of it at 0 degrees Celsius down the back of one's neck while the ambient temperature is around 33 Celsius can nigh on give you a heart attack. Every year the papers are full of new regulation regarding the merriment banning this or that in an effort I guess to cover somebody's back side no doubt by somebody with at least one or two PHD'S, but when it comes down to it in reality these warning may as well have been resigned straight to the smallest room in the house as it make absolutely no difference to the goings on in the street's.

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