Saturday, April 28, 2007

SongKran Festival

Here came the official Summer of Thailand, April is the month people wish it to pass as soon as possible. The heat index ,as of April 25, was 110 F. Well, how do we live in such climate? Once you get used to the weather here, 110F is no longer a freaking digit and 85F seems like 60F on good days.

Well, there was a celebration this month that can't be neglected to mention. It's the Thai New Year (April 13). Thais looked forward to that day because, first off, it's a long holiday weekend. People get to go back to their hometown, spend time with their parents and do some activities together such as going to Wat (temple). It's also a good time to re-evaluate their inner self and abstain from any wrongdoings. Observing the old tradition reminds them of who they really are. A new appreciation for life could be found at this time as the positive energy and good vibe're flying high.

Over the course of the long holiday weekend, Thais celebrated the New Year with traditional water festival called SongKran Festival. It was originated as a way to pay respect to elderly by pouring a small amount of purified water on their hands. The elderly, then, give them blessings in return. The youths also do it in a more
fun way. They splash one another with water to relieve the heat. Since April is the hottest month, it somewhat has turned into a water-splashing war. The water'd come
in a variety of containers (i.e. squirt guns, hoses, and barrels). They'd drive a
car around and spatter water at pedestrians by whatever equipments they have in hand. (Note: just water, no other substances) People won't get mad if they get splashed. It's an exception for SongKran. I wish I could have taken some photos to post on this blog. I didn't dare carry my camera around as it's likely to get wet and (later) broken. Tim went out one night to join the festival at a bar. He wasn't aware of
the ongoing war so he kept his cell phone in his jeans pocket without any protection. Well, needless to say what happened to that poor phone.

Asides from the event/weather update, Tim and I've spent most of our time overseeing his house renovation, yet still a work in progress. On our day off, we hang out with a few friends at a local bar. If the name Kao Sarn Road, Bars behind Lumpini Park, Ratchada Pisett, and KaSett NaVamin sound familiar to you, then welcome to the "old-timer" club. :) We hope, next month, we'd find time to leave the city for some islands. After the house renovation project's complete, we'll start looking into a job search. Until that time, I assure you'd find interesting articles up here. And of course, suitable for every age.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Moving Forward

April 11, 2007

Every year, my family go on a road trip together. Usually they would end up in a luxurious hotel by the sea somewhere near Bangkok. They would spend a night or two lounging and catching up with one another. The fact that I have a very big family and dad in a wheel chair, each year the trip get more challenging. The major hindrance is a lack of facilities for people with disabilities. Forget about kneel-down buses, priority seats, sidewalks, and washrooms for handicap, the insufficiency leave them no choice but staying home most of the time.

This year I had a chance to participate in my family gathering. Our destination is Kao Ta-Kleb beaches, Hua Hin Town, 3 hour drive from BKK. My sister planned the trip itinerary in advance and was able to reserve a 5 bedroom house by the beach for the family of 23. Before the trip, the number of attendees freaked me out as I was used to to living alone for a long time. I was worried about loosing my privacy.
Surprisingly, It turned out to be one of the best trip I've had. My sisters and I had
lived in a different places all over the world and had a lot to catch up. First night we stayed up until 5 A.M.. We sat in front of the house drinking beer and looking
at the sea at night. It was a beautiful night. What could be better than good conversation, great company, and bottomless beer?

As hours passed by, my sisters started to go back to bed, and left me and my in-law competing for a title of Last Drunk Standing. Around 5 A.M., the beer cases were empty. We were wasted but still chatted with our eyes half-way closed. Eventually we called it a night and went to bed. The next day my in-law got up hung over and had a headache. He asked if I felt the same. I said no, I was cool. Everyone thought I was a hard-core drinker. The secret is I drank half of what everyone else had. My in-law had about 12 bottles of beer. Our glasses were full the whole time. I was the one who refilled all glasses. I filled up half of my glass with beer and the other half with water. They were drunk and didn't pay attention to what I was doing. I knew drinking beer and water together will never get me drunk.

Hua Hin is a cute small town that has beautiful beaches and cozy resorts. I made a visit to the town when I was a kid so I had no recollection of what it looks like. I'm surprised to see beautiful beaches as I didn't expect shoreline beaches would be as pretty as beaches on the islands. No wonder it's become one of the most popular weekend get-away destinations for BKK people. Here's a link, in case you want to know more about Hua Hin.

We got there on Friday A.M. and left on Sunday P.M.. On the way home, we made a few stops at Ratchburi and Na-korn Pa-Tom, the 2 other cities. I looked out the window and saw the same scenery I saw 10 years ago. I smiled to myself. For once, I feel like I'm finally home.