Phee Chaai & Songkran!

Trip Start Jul 18, 2009
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Trip End Jun 08, 2011


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Flag of Thailand  , TH.40,
Sunday, April 18, 2010

Hi Everybody!

Of course, I will start off with a brief update of the situation here in Bangkok. There was some violence that erupted a few weekends ago with some causalities. It was on the complete opposite side of the city from where I live. Since then, and over the past two weeks, the Red Shirts have moved in and converged on a major intersection in the heart of Bangkok's shopping district (next to Central World Mall for those that remember the place from previous blogs). They have not moved, but the government has not tried to intervene. They just sit there…..every day and every night. All of the buildings/hotels/malls around the rallying site are closed which is causing the country to lose millions of dollars a day, but besides that, not much is happening. I am safe. Yes, I do encounter a lot of Red Shirts on a daily basis (as you will see from the pictures), but they are actually very friendly and have nothing against Farangs. I just simply avoid the areas where there are a lot of Red Shirts gathering, and continue on my way. To put it all in an easy-to-understand context, its like if they were all gathering at Broadway at the Beach. Yeah it stinks that you cant go to celebrity square or shop there, but all you have to do is simply avoid that area and life goes on as normal. So no worries! Im still a safe and happy monkey.

So moving on. My blessings keep on coming because the day that my parents left, my brother Joel (Phee Chaai= 'Older Brother’ in Thai) arrived in Bangkok. Actually, there was about 6 hours where my brother and parents were here in Bangkok together, and we were able to have a nice lunch and get some pictures. The other really great part about my brother being here when he was, was that I was on Spring Break! So I got to hang out with him like all day every day. It was flippin awesome. Because of our various college and professional careers, my brother and I really haven’t hung out for more than a few days over the past 8-9 years, so this was really cool to spend so much time with him just the two of us (cue Will Smith).

We did all of the normal tourist stuff and I tried to show him as much of this great city as I could. We accomplished so much in the time that he was here and just had a really great time messing around and catching up. One of the highlights of the week, and really an indescribable event, was "Songkran."  Now there is a whole long Buddhist background story to why Songkran is celebrated the way that it is, but as a brief summary, it is the Thai “New Year.” It last for 3 days from April 12-15 and basically everyone in the city has off from work and school. And everywhere, literally EVERYWHERE, people throw ice cold water on you as part of a belief that it will cleanse you of the crap from the previous year and allow you to start fresh this new year. As early as 8am in the morning, kids, teenagers, old folks, etc. all head to the side of the road with huge drums of icey cold water. They then proceed to throw it on passing cars, motorbikes, pedestrians- basically anything that moves. Those that aren’t on the on the side of the road are going about there business in the city with massive squirt guns at their side, ready to squirt anyone in sight. Thankfully, I found out about this little holiday early and stocked up on military-grade squirt guns. Joel and I always walked around the entire week with a squirt gun on our sides. Although we were often as wet as Allie Jr., we made sure to return the favor to anyone that dare dump water on us.

But the craziest event that we went to, and one of the craziest things that I have ever been to in my life, was the Songkran festival on Khao San Road. If you remember from earlier blogs, Khao San is a small street that serves as a major tourist hub for backpackers and vistors to Thailand. It is raved about in every travel guide and all your travel shows have been there at one point. Well, during Songkran, Khao San gets PACKEDD with people and everyone is armed with squirt guns, water balloons, and hoses. It was difficult for me to take good pictures because literally within 2 minutes of being out of the cab, I was covered in water from head to toe. Joel brought an underwater camera (hes a smarty pants), so he is to thank for alot of the great pictures from the extravaganza. Another Songkran tradition, is to take talcum powder, mix it with water to form a paste, and then slap that paste on a persons face or neck. Again, it is supposed to symbolize the cleansing of the soul (I usually find that extra-spicy hot sauce does that for me, but to each his own). So not only were we covered in water but we were covered in this mud, walking around like Swamp Thing all afternoon. And being pale-faces and standing a good foot above everyone else, Joel and I were certainly targets...It was so much fun!! Soooo many people. So much water. Everyone was partying and having a good time. It was certainly an experience that we will never forget.

I know I ended the last blog by saying this, but I am just compelled to say it again: there is nothing better than being with family. I had such a good time with my brother and I think he really had fun too. It was just really great to have him here and show him everything. I love my parents, I love my brother, and I thank God that they could come here to visit me over the past couple of weeks. I am very blessed to have the family that I do.

Now its back to the daily grind of working. Only 6 more weeks of school left though! Thanks for reading. Take care and God Bless,

Jason :-D
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Comments

Cheryl De Jong on

I loved ready both of your blogs! I am glad you both realize how important family is before it is too late! You actually had me choked up! I miss both you!

Cheryl De Jong on

See I was so choked up I couldn't spell! I enjoyed READING your blogs!!!

rosie on

What a great story, we sure did miss Joel on Sat AM but glad he got to visit his brother, so good he got to go and visit with your parents!!!

Kenneth on

These were awsome pictures. I love seeing pictures of places I have never traveled to. Looks like a fun and exciting place to visit. Wow I don't know if I could hold the snake, but I did hold a baby aligator once. It was cool.

Kent on

Just randomly came across your blog while doing research on my move to Bangkok. We must have walked past each other a few time on Khoa San Road. I normally hate this street but for Songkran it is one of the place to be and be seen.

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