I ended up with so many fun photos from this year’s Songkran that I thought I would publish a second post, which is mostly based around day two of the water fights on the main street of Si Bun Ruang. In my photography I try to capture the atmosphere of each occasion with special emphasis on faces and action, rather than just have lots of the same sort of scenes of people throwing water around. I hope that makes the inclusion of so many photos on basically the same topic interesting enough to keep you engaged.

This year was such a good time and the first time we have got involved with the action on the main street. Our thanks to Doug and Pu for allowing us to base ourselves at their shop, which you can find HERE, to battle the locals.

This was earlier in the afternoon and it was a bit quiet. Most cars got individual attention.

The three amigos. Mike, Doug and me.

And the partners Pu, Gaun and Pepsi.

Our team on the ground.

Drinking iced tea 🙂

The water reserves of Thailand must have gone down 50% the last few days.

Waiting for customers!

And finding some. The team in action.

Now that’s a big character.

Girls put talcum powder on the face of good looking boys and boys to girls. Sometimes it can get a bit extreme like here with Gaun. Water mixed in there too.

This young girl obviously didn’t mind applying powder to a few boys.

Room for a few more?

The girls weren’t left out. Funnily this wasn’t a thing to be avoided. Bikes with girls on would stop to have the power applied and usually some water as well.

The only time guys could play-up like this with passing girls and they took full advantage. Mind you the guys on bikes were getting equally special attention from the ladies as well.

Well dusted.

He’s even giving the girl a respectful wai (hand/s in front of face gesture).

Talcum powder is called “Peng” in Thai, which is my stepdaughter’s nickname! Gaun’s name comes from the flower of the bulletwood tree – very appropriate.

You are more likely to get a shot of a group of Thais ALL happy than a group of farang. Out for a good time and finding it I think. In Australia this would be illegal on so many grounds!

Spot the ladyboy!

A few mini-monks in this pickup.

Gaun and Pepsi.

Peng had a wonderful time. Her inability to stand for long periods before her operation means this is the first time in her life she been able to be fully involved in the water fights. Her enjoyment shows doesn’t it.

Gaun seemed to enjoy herself too.

Photoshoot time for some younger members of our team.

Peng and Pepsi. Just a combination that I liked so included it.

Peng and mum sharing something over the water bucket while they refill.

People in passing pickups would often ask for a water top-up so that they could fightback further up the street.

Another drenching and it’s all just accepted as part of the fun of the day.

Another lasyboy getting involved.

Gaun refreshing herself. You’d think that there was enough water around to keep cool.

This guy ran over from that passing pickup to give me a hug. I have that effect on people although I would prefer a girl-hug but at my age you take what’s on offer 🙂

Water incoming from the right.

Thais smile with their whole face.

Mum is packing a water pistol.

Right after a direct hit.

A fancy bike. That makeup won’t last!

This lady was from the shop next door. Dancing, drinking and playing with water on a hot day. Can life get any better?

A pretty optimistic use of plastic bags.

Pick-up central. Si Bun Ruang main street. Beautiful it ain’t but lively at Songkran it certainly is!

Now this is the real reason I bought the pick-up. It means you can get on the same level for pick-up to pick-up water fights 🙂
I haven’t done the main street Songkran before but will be from now on. It was all done with a lot of friendliness with all ages involved. Definitely one for the diary.

A final shot of some of a very happy group. A great afternoon.

15 Apr 2018 – Respect for Elders

It’s not just the Buddhas that get a ceremonial wash down at Songkran – Thai New Year. The elders get a clean up too! Today was Gaun’s mama’s turn and the family gathered to receive her blessing and pour water over her hands as a sign of respect. Lovely.

Yuan and Lud’s son Game pours the water. Gaun’s older sister Paed on the left.

The white wrist string was exchanged all round for good luck. Peng getting hers.

I have never seen the three elder sisters together to take a photo. There are seven children, five daughters, two sons and no ladyboys. Gaun is the second youngest. Here Noy, the eldest on the left, Yurt the second eldest and then Paed fourth in line.

My turn.

Peng gets a thank you wai from one of her nieces. One of my favourite all time photos.

Meanwhile outside Guna’s eldest brother Jun runs a casino every year.

Only semi-legal at Songkran with small donations made to the local police orphans and widows fund! Many play for ten or twenty baht like Yuan and Lud but others put down more serious money. If Yuan runs out of money she just borrows from Jun with no repayment expected. She keeps the winnings 🙂 If Jun is making money, which he always seems to, he buys beer and food. Even I get beer and I never play! I have received half a dozen bottle the last two days.

Yuan’s husband Lud.

16 Apr 2018 – Another Buddha Ceremony

I wanted to visit my favourite local temple Wat Pha Silawa for a Buddha washing ceremony. This is a simple and serene forest wat about ten minutes from home. If I was to become a monk this is the place I would base myself. The abbot Pu Yow is a warm, friendly man and his temple is disciplined with immaculate presentation. Most of these photos were taken in an area covered with a green shade cloth, which is why the colour is a bit odd.

The leftovers from an earlier Songkran party, which obviously catered for the local kids!

The outside Buddha shrine.

A open roofed structure surrounded by mature trees. I think the Buddha would far prefer this sort of environment than the huge, ostentatious, if spectacular, temples you see on the tourist agenda. Note all the fresh flowers, which are always on display in this temple. Compare that to so many others that ether have nothing or offer some dusty plastic ones!

Candles and incense offerings. Everything just left out – make a donation if you want.

This is the Ubosot building where monks are ordained and more formal ceremonies are conducted.

Usually closed to the public the abbot here has been kind enough to invite me to use it for meditation sessions. It is these sorts of acts of generosity that makes an “outsider” like me feel more connected and involved.
We arrived at the midday chanting with lots of mini-monks in attendance, school kids who become a monk for the holidays.

Gaun pouring water on the Buddhas.

You can see what a wonderful shaded place this is.

Using a Dok Khun branch (the bright yellow flowered tree this time of year) to sprinkle water of the many Buddhas.

The other smaller public area. An open building again so that the view of the simple Buddha shrine can flow into the surrounding trees.

One of the entrances to the wat. If you were feeling stressed you’d get an immediate benefit seeing an inviting path to the temple like this.

This mostly timber building is typical of most forest (Pha/Pa) wats. It is used for larger ceremonial occasions.

On the way home we called into another wat to check out the sandcastle competition. Famous wats from around Thailand or maybe just someone’s imagination!

This one would get my vote.

I have written before about this temple where the sandcastles were made. It is one of my favourites and obviously other people’s as well.

So another Songkran comes to an end. Yesterday finished with a big street party in our village and ended with a family Isaan BBQ buffet. It has been a wonderful mixed time with parties, Buddhist ceremonies, water fights and family occasions including a wedding. To friends and family be quick and book your room at the Eastmead/Vansutha estate for next year.

Three little insights to the street party yesterday.

ONE: The government wanted a strong traditional Thai theme to Songkran this year, which is why, if you were here during this period, you may have seen more people in this sort of outfit than in previous years. Gaun tells me this is a Bangkok traditional dress, not Isaan. I won’t cover the street party as I have done it all before.

Gaun and Yuan.

TWO: Our village is a bit stingy when it come to throwing a party. The local “council” is dominated by older people so noisy, fun stuff sometimes gets pretty muted. This year the youngsters decided enough was enough and they got together to kick in 200 baht each and hire a HUGE music truck for the street party, playing their sort of music. The old folk are still recovering! Funny.

Yuan and Lud.

THREE: An elderly lady across the road from mama’s house is very sick. Normally the party would come down the road outside her place but this year it was moved to another street so that she wasn’t too disturbed by the noise. Now that’s how living in a community should be.

And tonight. I suggested a buffet this morning and offered to put in some money.

Suggest something involving food to an Isaan person and the world moves to make it happen. In typical “normal” behaviour the family didn’t just expect the farang to kick in. Jun, Gaun’s elder brother put in 1,000 baht as did his daughter and Yuan contributed 500 baht. This photo is a mix of family living in the village, their kids who are back for Songkran and Jun and his family who work in Bangkok.

I couldn’t think of a better way to start the new year than with a group of people like this. Top quality, decent folk who have made a farang one of their own.

Thanks for reading.