Sawasdii bpii mai na jaa! Or Happy New Year for my non-Thai speaking readers. The week of April 12th marked the Thai New Year known as Songkran, and if ever there was a holiday perfectly suited to the Thai climate, this is IT! Songkran takes place during the hottest part of the hot season, which Thailand is experiencing right now. Mid-day temperatures can soar to over 100 degrees F (although after about 93, all temperatures just register as “too hot” on my internal thermometer), and there is sometimes no escape from the heat except to duck into a 7-11 to enjoy a thorough blasting by their ever present air-con. Songkran seems a holiday dedicated to fighting back against the heat; to celebrate the Thai New Year, the whole country turns into a week long water fight, complete with giant super-soakers!
Never have I had such an awesome time! Beer was cheap, the weather was hot, and there were hundreds of people running through the streets wearing soaking clothes and big smiles. I think the tradition originally came from washing away one’s sins by pouring water over your head (considered the most sacred part of the body), and has since morphed into something much larger and more fun. The only bit I didn’t really care for is the white soy-based powder that Thais smear all over your face as you walk through the streets spraying people. Once it gets in your eyes, it’s a real pain to get out, literally.
I’ve also had the pleasure of hosting one of my favorite people on the planet (oh, and boyfriend!), Matthew, for the past couple of weeks. We had a great time playing Songkran in Bangkok for a week, and then spent this past week down visiting Koh Chang and Koh Samed for some R&R and sand between our toes. Matthew has never visited a warm climate before, and it was really fun for me to show him the beautiful beaches, friendly people, and delicious food of my new Thai homeland. Sometimes the only thing better than visiting and experiencing a new place yourself is sharing those discoveries with someone special. It has been a lovely two weeks, and it was achingly sad to see him off the airport on Sunday morning. Surely a solid reminder to be thankful for the people we get to enjoy in our lives.