Hua Hin…day13 and 14
Sunday was practically, a hard day for many people here at Suchaya Place (that’s our accommodation for those that don’t know). For many, the day began at 11am with a nice refreshing swim and a hangover breakfast before heading back to bed for a nap haha. Only joking, there was no nap, most people just lounged around by the pool and chatted and listened to music and contemplated the homework assignment due for Wednesday. I decided to use this time to head toward the Tesco in search of some GO-PRO accessories and a couple of other items. On a side note, if anyone reading this knows about the quick or smart remotes for GO-PROS, I am wanting to get one to attach to my GO-POLE so I can operate it underwater and use it to take selfies as my camera does not have a timer function, is this possible? Do they work underwater? Any advice would be a great help – I have the GOPRO hero 4 Silver, thanks guys. Back to Sunday, so after the unsuccessful trip to the mall we headed to the night market in search of the heaven on a plate salad for dinner (again). The rest of the evening went by rather uneventfully, we got home chilled and chatted round the pool before everyone had an early nights rest in preparation for Songkran on Monday.
Sawatdee bi mai (Happy New Year in Thai) this is what the day was all about. Songkran is the Thai New Year festival, they use a calendar based upon Buddhism and the unfortunate death of the Buddha is day one, this means that we are now in the year 2558 (if my calculations are correct). The festival does not only celebrate this new year but also the beginning of the rain season (which in fact only starts in like 2months but ya) and this is why the festival is water based. For us the day started with a 9:30am pick up and from there is just went downhill haha, the taxi became a water fight arena with the red team not only shooting each other but also those innocent motorists driving by. There were a number of bukkies, scooters and bikes who performed drive-bys of their own on their way past us. This was when the true size of the celebration hit, never have I experienced such a festival on such a large scale, literally every single person, be them local or foreigner, was out and partaking in the celebrations. Every shop had closed or turned into a water station and every car became a water tank. The effort that was put in by the people of Hua Hin to celebrate such a day was truly amazing. The taxi took us to our home base for the day, a local restaurant which the XploreAsia staff had booked out for us for the day. Upon arrival we were given access to a number of large water bins with which we could refuel our water guns and from here on the day just got better and better.
Everyone gathering round and getting ready
We spent the first couple hours around the restaurant just wetting each other and any unfortunate people who drove past. To put this in perspective we numbered about 60+ people in total and at one stage we had about 30 of us lining the side of the road all armed with water guns and buckets ready to pounce on any wayward travellers haha. The general enthusiasm and level of participation shown by those who drove past was amazing, people would drive past on scooters (when I say people, I actually mean families) and slow down so that we could wet them, many would even attempt to shoot back but all would soon be overwhelmed by our large numbers. What amazed me was that no one got cross, no one was angry, no one shouted, everyone just kind of accepted what the day was about and proceed to have a good time – this country is just amazing. We chilled around the restaurant till about lunch time when we were served a buffet of fried rice, chicken and cashew nut mix, vegetables, deep fried chicken, chips, fish cakes, plain rice and even fresh fruit and needless to say we had a huge feast for the next hour haha. Once everyone had fuelled themselves up for the rest of day we reloaded the guns and decided an excursion was in order.
Inside the restaurant
The troops getting ready
Never had I imagined the level of excitement this excursion would produce. We set out toward the main party area of town, along the way we came across a number of water stations and attack points. Now I must highlight the fact that some people were nice enough to use the naturally warm tap water, while others decided it would be better to soak us with ICE WATER and let me tell you throughout the day I must have completed the ice bucket challenge about 20 very unpleasant times haha. However, ignoring this fact we continued our journey through the streets both interacting and shooting everybody we could find, it was a truly wonderful experience.
The locals getting involved
Andrew drenching some local riders
Somehow along our adventures we managed to take a corner and ended up in the middle of a parade. Yup, we don’t know how or where it came from but one second we were just walking down the road and the next we were behind the lead car in the water parade dancing with the locals haha. They were extremely welcoming people, they welcomed us into their parade, showed us their dance and even invited a couple of the girls onto the car with them, all while spraying us with water and painting our face with some sort of powder. Oh yes, I forgot to mention that all while they are spraying and pouring buckets of water on us, they are also attacking us with some sort of water powder. We continued in the parade for about an hour following it around the city while soaking up all the local culture and the celebrative atmosphere.
Joining the parade
Jess and Courteney dancing with the locals
Unfortunately the parade came to an end and we decided it was time for us to head to new pastures. Luckily we were close to the party section of town and so headed for the Blue Monkey to have a couple drinks. As could be expected the energy in the party section was nowhere near finished and we pretty much joined a new festival haha, there was more ice water being thrown around and the foam intersection party was now pumping more than ever. The amount of locals and foreigners in these tiny little streets was a bit too overwhelming for us and due to this and the dropping temperature mixed with the ice water we decided to head homeward. And this marked the end of our Songkran experience, it was truly amazing and one I am extremely grateful to have been apart of. I am hoping to be here again next year and recommend everyone who is able to, to make their way here and be a part of this life changing experience.
Thank you all for reading