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Tuesday 15 Apr
Bangkok, Thailand

Bedlam in Bangkok

So I've been consistently wet for 3 days; generally with cheeks and hair schmeered with grey chalky gloop (a blessing) or occasionally grey chalky gloop laced with tiger balm (a curse or a super blessing??) Welcome to the bedlam of Thai New Year or Songkran.

Songkran is the most celebrated of the Thai festivals - a bizarre combination of reverence and fun. It is a time for new beginnings where an intensive bought of piety, thanks to ancestors' & respected elders and an annual spring cleaning mark the start of the new solar year. Songkran evolved from traditional Indian powder throwing into gentle rituals of water based reverence and purification - such as the sprinkling of monks and Buddha images with water in order to win merit. Like all important festivals modernization and commercialization have taken over to a degree and age old customs have been supplemented with Thai's grabbing lurid water pistols of all shapes, sizes and colours, brimming buckets and water hoses for attacks on all in sight, including each other. Reading the guidebook it is easy to dismiss Songkran as one of those festivals with little appeal. A pregnant fairy in a water fight? Hmmh, think I may just sit this one out thanks but Khao San is one of the bastions of the water wars - staying dry, or "un-blessed" is just not an option.

Day 1 dawned and the hotel closed off its pool and main entrance. How inconvenientBlue! Tuk tuk prices increased. More inconvenienceBlue! Finding dinner was a minor chore as one had to dodge Thai's with water pistols but a roadside venue provided much observation and amusement watching the antics of the revelers and the vendors touting water pistols, water and chalk. All a bit of silly fun really!

Day 2 dawned and this was our designated shopping day at the massive JJ Weekend Market. Streets around Kaho San have all been shut off, policeman abound, a few people are loitering in the streets and tuk tuks are still hard to find and expensive. HmmhMad! Got drenched several times on the way to the market - there is no protection in a tuk tuk ; especially from bakkie loads of people with barrels of water and other tuk tuks piled sardine in 10 people or more with pistols…….oh, and lets not forget the people on the streets with hose pipes and pales of icy water. Carnage! Quite welcome in the heat though Wink, when in Rome........! Getting back to our hotel was also bedlam, the few loiters had swelled into a mass of celebrants and it was impossible to walk down the streets and stay dry or clean. Bit of a giggle here, we're up against a hopeless fight! Our one hotel entrance kindly had a bin of water and towels to clean ourselves up in.

Day 3 saw more sightseeing, more tuk tuks, more icy drenching, more giggles. Hit the street stalls for a bad shirt (everyone is wearing them) and some massive lurid water pistols (of course someone else had even bigger ones). Dressing for the day involved board shorts, rash vest (for some warmth) and our bad shirts. The pregnant fairy and Lord Clive were locked and loaded and ready for to conquerCool. Arrived back at the hotel exhausted, dirty and very, very wet! If you can't beat em, join emWink!

Day 4 has just begun so nothing to report but imagine it is going to be a wet we are prepared!

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The wandles and wombles of Three Musketeers

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Dali South Gate

Dali South Gate

Welcome to the somewhat reduced meanderings of Lord Earp, Jungle Barbie and wee-can't-wait-to-be- adventurer, aka wee bop. The next 2 1/2 months will see us relaxing, absorbing and adventuring in the non maleria parts of asia - Maldives, Thailand & China!

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    Pink pistoled pregnant fairy
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    Lord of the orange pistol
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    Khao San at Songkran
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    Age is of no importance