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I’m in the middle of a HUGE party here on Koh Phangan, for the Thai Songkran Festival. The house music right outside this Internet cafe is pounding the beat, and everyone’s dancing like crazy. I’ve been powdered, drenched, powdered again & drenched again, so many times it’s impossible to count! The supersoakers are out in force, and others are just throwing buckets of water, sometimes iced on everyone. Everyone is soaking everyone else, and Everyone is smiling like they’re having a great time (and we are indeed!)
The Thais are going nuts. This is obviously a big thing for them. And today the sun is shining without a cloud in the sky. I haven’t a clue what the temperature is because for the last 3 hours I’ve been completely soaked, feeling nice & cool.
I’m sorry but I’m not taking pix of this wonderful event. 🙁 Can’t risk the camera (which by now would be history!). I’ve refilled my supersoaker at least 50 times, and I’ve got a nice blister coming on my trigger finger.
Too bad everyday can’t be like this one! Tonight there’s a big party at the Pirates Bar, with a bunch of DJs with their setups in little nooks in the sheer cliff. I’ll post some pix of the bar soon. It’s right at the end of the beach I’m on, which is one minute away from my bungalow. How convenient.
I’m not jonesin’ anymore! Yippee! Sweet Thai medicine for my insomnia. 🙂
So the story about this Thai New Year celebration is that they’re supposedly cleansing themselves of all the shit from the last year, so they can start the new year fresh. It’s new years cause today is their Equinox, with the sun directly overhead. It’s the hottest month of the year here, so a great excuse to get soaking wet!
A beautiful, friendly, tolerant country (it is full of Buddhists after all). Unfortunately economic development and unbridled tourism has deformed this country. Check out Ko Samui or Ko Phanghan for a real getaway. Stay away from Bangkok, Pattaya and Phuket. Chaing Mai too has changed for the worse. The hill tribes of the north are worth a visit though.
Maya Bay, Thailand
Many places were untouched by the Tsunami, including the famous Maya Bay on Phi Phi Island, where "The Beach" with Leonardo DeCaprio was filmed. This is perhaps the most beautiful beach I’ve ever been on (and that’s saying a whole lot!)
I haven’t been to Thailand for 22 years, when I took a 2 1/2 year journey around the world. Much has changed here in the intervening years. Thailand has industrialized, urbanized & developed to an amazing degree. Much of this development is haphazard, which has created a whole set of problems, particularly pollution and degradation of their beautiful country’s environment.
On top of that they are now recovering from the devastating Dec 26th, 2005 Tsunami which hit Phuket & surrounding areas & islands very hard.
Tsunami devastation on Phi Phi Don Island, Thailand There used to be a market, restaurants and bars where now there is only sand.
Despite the enormous toll in human life and property lost, the resilient Thai people are rebuilding and those areas untouched (the majority) by the Tsunami are open for business but suffering because tourism is down. Many Thai people working in the hotel & restaurants are having to take huge pay cuts to keep their jobs.
This is the magical place where they filmed The Beach with Leonardo DiCaprio. The water, the sand, the steep hillsides surrounding hidden pools all combine to make this one of the most special places on the planet!