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07/04/2010 - Phuket celebrates Thai New Year  07/04/2010 - Phuket celebrates Thai New Year

I almost survived last year until I discovered we didn't have any ice and then my intrepid adventure to the corner shop took on a more agonising approach than usual.

The shop is a mere 500m from my house and on a normal day a journey of two minutes by car, but today was no ordinary day.  Today was Songkran.

I could see the revellers from my house, located strategically outside the 7-11 and sufficiently armed with pistols and guns, I could also hear the screams of the passersby who had been brutally attacked.

I decided to make a run for it.  I got into my car, sealed the windows and drove quickly down the hill.  As I approached the shop I hoped they would take pity on a foreigner and I put on my sternest, 'don't you dare' face.  It seemed to work well.As I went inside I noticed that the shop was covered with layers of cardboard mats and was being continually mopped by the attendants.  I purchased my two 7 Baht bags of ice and made for a quick getaway.  As I turned my back, a huge deluge of water, fired from close range and accompanied by a few handfuls of chalk for good measure, was timely aimed in my direction. 

Huge pails of laughter filled the air. Soaked to the skin I hoped I'd put on my best pants as I knew they were now clearly visible through my dress.  I gave a rye smile and got back into my car.

On arrival back home my cheery house keeper could hardly control herself and fell about in fits of laughter, I gave in and threw her in the pool.
Songkran, Thai New Year, is one of most fun days in Thailand and takes place on 13th to 15th April each year.  The throwing of water originated as a way to pay respect to people, by gently pouring a small amount of lustrel water on other people’s hands or over a shoulder but the tradition has since evolved to include dousing strangers with water to relieve the heat, as April is the hottest month of the year in Thailand  and temperatures can rise to over 100°F or 40°C on some days. The chalk which is generously thrown along with the water is traditionally used by Thai monks to mark their blessings. 

This year I'm going to make sure I'm not the one getting wet.  I've purchased my super soaker and I'm ready for action.

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