Alone again, again. Or perhaps for the first time, who knows?
I must say I'm relieved as well (to be alone, that is) - the problem I've found so far with the random people I meet travelling is that you often have common interests when it comes to talking about future plans and swapping a few yarns over a drink, but in essence they are people I would never develop a friendship with, basically it's like going to a party and talking to random individuals.. and then meeting them for 3 days in a row, very much rinse and repeat.
And so today I'm back by myself as Anna, Allan and Kerryn are all off on the slow boat to Laos (which I'm also doing, but not till the 19th, I still need to pack a day or two of Thai cooking school in and maybe some sight seeing :) - I must say it's a relief, as I dont really feel like I've been by myself for more then a day or two in the last month and half since I started travelling, and well it's been fucking me off to put it bluntly - I may live in a flat, but my work, the job at the council (where their aren't too many young people) and my hour's meander too and from work on public transport offer me a lot of time to just mull things over by myself, I dont think I've been getting enough of that time so far while travelling - like a cat needs sleep, I need time alone.
Anyway, Songrkan just got better and better, the second day was great - had loads of fun, and the expressions on some of the kids faces were priceless, indellible memories (but alas no photographs, too much water to take me camera out) though as the sun goes down you get a little bitter about being hit with a high pressure blast of freezing cold water (they love filling 44 gallon drums with big blocks of ice, and topping it up with water.... brrrr!) - that night we settled in with a bit of a meal then headed out to the roof top bar, which is close to the city gate on Chongklan road - full of idiots, but amusing.. I left here with Anna however when a band started up down on the stage by the gate, "silly fool", who are apparently very well known (i.e. big!) in Thailand.. they seemed like a linkin park crossed with creed type combination, but it wasn't that bad ;o) watching the Thai teenagers getting right into it was highly amusing, though they dont seem to do encores.. maybe it was just because it was a festival thing.
After that I headed back up to the roof top bar, had a rather pointless coversation with a drunken air brush artist hippy who just imigrated from Perth, Australia - though he was particularly harmless, at one point he seemed like he was about to burst into tears - It just reminded me of too many conversations I'd had with drunk people back when I lived in the Tomarata with my parents... heh
...and um.. oh yes, then another longer conversation with a girl from Brazil, who had been travelling for over a year and could not wait to get home and see her maid... interesting, I could not quite figure out if her maid was her best friend, or just a mother substitue - probably both, she was an only child with both parents being rather busy private doctors - having the financial hardships of Brazillian locals explained was a rather sobering experience, much like learning the details of China's working class - it generally just makes me bitter when you're sitting in some stupid tourist bar full of idiotic twenty somethings trying to give their end away, alot of people come away to see "Thailand" and then go out of their way to avoid it at every turn... What I really dont like about tourist bars though is that they seem inherantly unsafe, I really dont trust young white people drinking to excess... I'd far rather sit down and have a few beers with the locals.
On the third day we headed out a bit later, there were less people (I suspect alot of the domestic tourists head home to get back to work after the second day) but every was really into the swing of things.. lots of people drinking, dancing in the streets.. and a massive parade that took about 3 hours to go past through the town gates - loads of fun, and I spent quite a bit of time perusing the various food stalls and trying different random things.. most good but not great (all the fruit juices are too sweet that I've tried so far)
We did see some strange (bad) things happen during Songkran too though, and it offered a little insight into something you don't see very often - Thai people getting angry. The main incident happened on the second day, wandering around the square.. then suddenly there's yelling and running, then somebody throwing a bottle (which instead of hitting the person in question went through a ute window and hit a little girl on the noggin, she was alright but did have a bit of a lump and graze on her head... and then a guy legging it off up the road through all the traffic... pursued by 5 or 6 young Thai guys (from 2 different utes)... at which point you get an appreciation for just how fit these little guys are, in jandals they were sprinting after eachother through a foot of water at break neck speed (faster then I could probably run down a hill, but that's not saying much hehe!) - deadly serious looks on their faces... we were walking in the opposite direction and after a couple of minutes everything resumed as per usual... but I would imagine they metered out justice in a fairly "practical" way on this guy once they got him, I certainly wasn't going to hang around and watch.
Though I didn't see it on the 3rd night, some western guy who Kerryn (the Aussie we were travelling with on the Trek) bumped into, fell down the stairs from the rooftop bar and hit against a door in hallway, which was the entrance to someones room we suspect.. the guy came out really angry and started squabbling, then another guy (I may be getting the story wrong..?) turned up and pulled a knife... all a bit scary, Kerryn managed to calm them down and walk the drunk out of the bar... but then when on the street the drunk guy was set on by another Thai guy who punched him right across the cheek, laying him out for 6 - some other Thai people came over and appologised and Kerryn left it at that, the guy was too drunk to know where he was staying, and had lost his keys and wallet... There really isn't much you can do for some people, apparently he'd lost his keys the night before as well too... he's probably been doing similar things everywhere he's travelled.
Really it's no worse then any other new years at home, I'm sure my brothers seen worse up the mount ;o) it's just we don't normally mix kids, teenagers, parents and grandparents into the same spaces - so it just seems worse.
At any rate, I can't say enough good things about this holiday, bad things included, I'm really glad I came here when I did, but I'll also be just as glad to get away and move onto a new place.