Sunday, March 27, 2011

Songkraan Smelly Water

This evening while buying some groceries, a cask of Californian Red Wine, I noticed a basket of small bottles at the checkout counter. It appeared to me to be lemon juice or some type of condiment. My friend and I discussed the possibilities briefly as I picked up a bottle for a closer look.

I glanced up and realised I'd had a conversation with this lovely checkout girl before, completely in Thai and it went something like this...
"Oh!!! Madame likes Leo beer?", as I sit a large bottle down on the counter. My first thought was 'cheeky!!!',
 is she questioning my purchase of an alcoholic beverage? Not an uncommon reaction from my hotel store staff when I front up to buy an occasional bottle of beer. AND ITS NOT JUST ME, they've even made comment when Stray bought 2 bottles, to which he replied 'my wife will drink it with me'. Thanks a lot Stray, now they think I'm a lush, because being female and having a drink only seems to be justified if there's a Karaoke machine nearby.

"No, I don't like beer", I said, "but red wine is too expensive. Do you like beer?"
"Yes." she says. Oh, thank goodness, she's not a teetotaller.
"Do you like Leo beer? Singha beer?"
"Yes" she says.
"But Chang beer, it gives you a headache, right?" (OK, I admit, I said *headache* in English)

She agrees and we have a bit of a laugh about it. Anyway, here I am checking out with a cask of red wine (I finally caved in) and ask her "what's in the little bottle?"

"For Songkraan" she says, "You put it in the water." and opens the bottle to give us a sniff. Just like incense but without the smoke. So, I bought a bottle (to deodorise the shoe rack) and the young lady made no comment about my big box of red plonk :)

"Pour some Thai scented water on a Buddha image and elders, experience the cultural performances and traditions in the Northern style as well as enjoy various food along the streets." http://songkran.tourismthailand.org/

Sounds wonderful according to the website description, the photo is even more delightful. But, from what I've heard, the reports are very varied. I am looking forward to my first Songkran, but am aware of the dangers (wet roads and thin T-shirts) and possible inconveniences...like being REALLY WET, TOTALLY DRENCHED,  for quite a few days. Not to mention the talcum powder that follows the dousing...so things could get quite pasty I imagine.

Rumour has it, the scented water should be poured over the hands, shoulder and slowly down the back of the person, not before 10 a.m. and not after sunset....ARE YOU LISTENING PEOPLE? Having sweet smelling water gently trickled over me sounds wonderful, much nicer than my friends encounter last year, when she was soaked in Ping River sludge. 

I'm keeping an open mind and I'm eager to see what next month's biggest water fight *ever*, is like. If you're in Chiang Mai, keep an eye out for me, I'll be the middle aged farang women completely wrapped in plastic.

Cheers! And I mean, cheers...with a full bodied glass of red!

Snap's other blog Chiang Mai Thai

10 comments:

Theodora said... Best Blogger Tips

Yep. I've been on the wrong end of the "buying beer again?" conversation, too. Maybe it's time to start alternating between liquor stores? Looking forward muchly to your Songkran post.

Lani said... Best Blogger Tips

Songkran is so much fun! For the first day. But if this weather keeps up I'm not playing!!!!!!!

Wear a hat to cover your ears - getting water in them is not fun and people get ear infections. My best advice ;)

We'll have to go out together! xxoo

Snap said... Best Blogger Tips

@Theodora I HAVE, I HAVE alternated between different stores...I'm starting to feel like I should be wearing a disguise.

Snap said... Best Blogger Tips

@Lani It's cold today, isn't it! We could only be so lucky if the cool weather continues into April. I look forward to going out together and I vote we do it in 'you know who's' dry car ;)

Mike said... Best Blogger Tips

Hi Snap, that made me smile, personally having been here a little while I hate Songkran, great novelty but........

Perhaps the bottle is to pour in the pond water(its free) frequently used at Songkran.

Bah Humbug ;-)

Snap said... Best Blogger Tips

@Mike Scented or not, I don't fancy getting any moat/pond/river water on me, but I am kind of excited about the celebration side of it. :)

Catherine said... Best Blogger Tips

I'm still undecided on what to do about Songkran this year. Running around last year was muted by the Red Shirts but it was still sort of fun to watch everyone join in.

But what to do about the camera? I spent half a morning tracking down a waterproof whatsit but when I finally found one the camera shop acted like they didn't want to sell it to me...

"cannot insure your camera - maybe you'll get upset with us if your camera gets ruined"

Dunno. I guess I'll make up my mind on the day.

Snap said... Best Blogger Tips

@Catherine The camera issue has gone through my mind too. I'll only be taking photos from within my friend's car...seems like such a waste of good photo opportunities, but there doesn't seem to be an alternative other than taking them from inside of a plastic bag.

Your encounter at the camera store...abstract logic or perhaps they've run into angry owners of waterproof whatsits before ;)

Martyn said... Best Blogger Tips

Snap, during the Songkran festivities you wouldn't get me near some of the ponds I've seen in Thailand.

There's a pond at a restaurant near to Wilai's village and I reckon if you cast a fishing line into it the hook would melt. I'm sure the mosquitoes think twice about hovering over it.

I don't mind a good clean Songkran soaking but some of the rivers, lakes and pond waters are a bit too treacly more my liking.

Enjoy Songkran.

Snap said... Best Blogger Tips

@Martyn I'm planning on staying away from the moat and river. It's already started, I just drove through peak hour traffic in the safety of a car and buckets of moat water were flying everywhere. Notably outside of the farang bars on the tourist strip. Some of the locals where swimming in the moat. I don't want to sound like a stick in the mud...but certainly don't want end up covered in it either.

My challenge will be getting to and from school tomorrow!

PS. Glad you worked your way around that commenting gremlin :)