Songkran With Kids…Mayhem In a Squirt Gun
“Wherever you go becomes a part of you somehow”
As my husband hung out the top of our car with a super-soaker squirting unsuspecting passers-by, I reiterated the rules to my kids. 1) no shooting monks, 2) no shooting people in the face, 3) no shooting people with grey hair…oh, and no shooting people on “motocys” (Thai word for Scooters).
A minute later I was getting soaked…my husband (bless his heart), after squirting kids in tuk tuks, some guy in a taxi, and a lot of attractive Thai girls that seemed just a little too excited by it, decided to attack two pedestrians with enormous squirt guns. It wasn’t going well for him, and I think I was bearing the brunt of it in the driver’s seat. The kids were loving it though…and that’s why we were out…it’s Songkran!
Wait, what? What the freak is Songkran? (I can hear my American friends asking) Short answer (stolen from Wikipdedia…because that’s how I roll): Songkran is the Thai New Year’s festival. The Thai New Year’s Day is 13 April every year, but the holiday period includes 14-15 April as well., It coincides with the rising of Aries on the astrological chart, the New Year of many calendars of South and Southeast Asia. The festive occasion is in keeping with the Buddhist/Hindu solar calendar.
In Thailand they celebrate it by shutting down the entire country and having a huge water fight…I mean everywhere. Malls, 7-11s, busiest street in Thailand (as proven by my husband) and mostly in and outside the bars. Some streets like Silom and Sukhimvit Soi 4 are crazy…I wouldn’t take my kids there, not because it’s unsafe, but more because I’m afraid of losing them and having to explain some things to my 8 year old. I really wish I would have come here when I was 23!
For a really good description see this blog post from a travel blogger I like: http://expertvagabond.com/songkran-festival-chiang-mai/
Today we were headed to Central World. We had heard that either this or Siam Square were the two best places to take kids and we decided to check it out. For those who don’t know valet parking is free at 99% of malls in Bangkok. Usually it’s not worth it for us because driving and finding parking is not something we relish for anything outside of a small radius. However, Central World is close and traffic is light over Songkran so we piled in the car and headed that way. After some of the afore-mentioned sunroof fun by my husband he had just retreated into the car and we were rolling into the valet line when we were attacked by the US Ambassador to Thailand, Glyn Davies @GlynTDavies and his lovely wife Jackie. (you can see their pictures on his twitter). We love the Ambassador and his wife and have had some lovely times in their home, plus the husband gets to fly him to some of his meetings around Thailand…which gets him to some of the lesser seen places in the Kingdom. Steve felt pretty fortunate that he had just ducked out of the sunroof!
After dropping off the car and getting some strange looks from the valet guys (and promising to return to do some actual shopping) we loaded up the kids with their squirt guns and waded into the fray.
The kids were loving it! Everyone wanted a piece of the blonde haired kids, and while there were crowded sections, we managed to find a great area to have our own fight that was relatively clear.