Chiang Mai. North of Thailand and its second-biggest city. And also reckoned as being the best place for Songkran. If by “best” you mean “most likely to get soaked in”.
I’ve made one quick excursion into town and managed to get some flip flops, 2 Tintin t-shirts for Indy and no watch battery. Holy grail the last one, I think. Somehow I’m reaching the conclusion it’ll be easier to buy a cheap knock-off Cartier.
The “night market” starts setting up about 3pm and it’s essentially about 3 gazillion trolley stalls which get dragged around by people, motorbikes, vans… Well, roughly 3 gazillion. I lost count at 1.75 gazillion. They’re not careful with them. The screeches of metal on metal as they’re cannoned and dragged past each other is almost painful.
On the way back up, disaster. Two young(ish) Thai girls (probably early twenties) armed with a hose and two buckets struck. *SPLOOSH* being a good sport, I just let them. Heck, it’s only water. And I was outnumbered. Then their mum smeared some kind of powdery stuff on my face. Bizarre. I’ve heard they often use coloured powders, but this just looked like talcum only it smelled utterly different. More mediciney.
Anyway, they started arguing over which was going to be my girlfriend while I tried to soak them in return (successfully) and then I made good my exit, squishing up the street, trainers squirting water everywhere. I really should have changed into my flip-flops when I bought them.
There were a few Brits at the next pub throughfully throwing water at passing motorists who attempted to soak me too. I think I took the wind out of their sails when I pointed out that someone else had beaten them to it. Then cheered up when I told them where they could likely find some decent competition.
So I am now sat in my room with fresh clothing and flip flips on (which I shouldn’t really indoors but they are brand new), wondering how long it’ll take my clothes and money to dry out. This was why I packed football shirts. They dry very fast indeed!
One unfortunate thing is that I won’t be able to get any photos of the night market during my stay. I can’t risk taking my camera out during Songkran for obvious reasons. If I did get a cheap disposeable, I’d have to wait till I got the pics back and scanned them somehow.
I’m sure I’ll be back here someday, though. I can wait til then. In the meantime, I’m off on a walking trek tomorrow which includes bamboo rafting, elephant riding and a visit to one of the “long neck” tribes in the mountains. Oh, and some waterfalls. All for about £12 including lunch. Bargain.