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Life in Chiang Mai


Songkran bah humbug?

By Heather Allen
So many of my friends complain about Songkran, and I confess that after a few years it does get tiresome this water throwing, the traffic, the tourists. But, I choose to live in Chiang Mai and the Songkran Festival has been mad long before my humble arrival in town. It would be a bit much to then expect it to somehow change simply because I have had my fill of the whole thing.
I learned some time ago that there really is no point in complaining about things over which one has no power, such as the huge influx of tourists at Songkran, or the uncanny ability of red truck drivers to disappear as soon as I need one. So, this is not a Songkran complaint. I survived Songkran’s past, I have survived this one but each year I assemble a survival kit. Number one on the list is of course that wonderfully ingenious water proof phone bag on a string. This way if I venture out after the time the water throwing is supposed to stop but some tourist didn’t get the memo that after dark there is NO WATER then my phone is not ruined.
Second to the Songkran survival kit is to hit the stores and stock up before the holiday. This year I laid in a goodly supply of food, beer, spirits and mixers. I sat on my rooftop and watched the mayhem below drinking gin and tonics. One day a few friends braved the traffic and water to join me. In the evening, we strolled out and found an open restaurant for dinner.
Finally, key to my Songkran survival kit is to make sure I have plenty of movies and television series to watch in case the rooftop watching gets boring. Or as is the case this year, just too hot. One day, I even donned my swimming suit, an old shirt and shorts and ventured out into the mayhem to squirt a few people and get my own back. It was actually rather fun once I stopped feeling grumpy about it.
Now that Songkran has passed, the hordes of tourists are gone, the streets are clear and the low season is upon us, we can all enjoy Chiang Mai without millions of tourists getting in our way. Except the Chinese who seem to delight in doing so.


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Songkran bah humbug?