April 12th and 13th, 2019
Benz joins our group! We are incredibly grateful that due to the Thai National Songkran holiday, my son’s girlfriend has now joined us. She is both Buddhist and Thai so we benefit from her positive disposition, translating skills, explanation of Thai culture, and knowledge of the Buddhist traditions and beliefs. Welcome Benz! 😘
While many Thai people travel to their home provinces to be with family and celebrate Buddhist tradition during Songkran, the Thai New Year also marks a massive commercial venture where tourists and locals experience a 3 + day window of opportunity to dress up and don massive super soakers (or squirt guns), or even buckets of ice water, and soak strangers! We had water thrown or squirted at us in multiple locations from April 12th to April 15th! (There will be blog posts following this one profiling more water action).
The first meal shared together with Benz was at MK in Union mall. The procedure is that you order your ingredients for your soup using your touch screen at the booth. The huge pot is ready for action sitting on your cooking surface in the center of your table. You select the veggies, meats, and options you desire for your collaborative soup creation.
Soon after servers start delivering bowls and plates to your booth. You place the ingredients in the bowling water … and create your collaborative soup.
The servers seemed quite shocked by the amount of meat Benz and Alexander ordered!! But it was all eaten 😉. Mark and I were introduced to a new veggie tonight—morning glory. Back in Canada I pull out these weeds… here it is a delectable green veggie. Is it the same species I wonder?
After dinner Benz introduced us to the first of many Songkran traditions practiced over Thai New Year. There are different statues of Buddha representing each day of the week. You conduct your water or oil ceremony with the Buddha which matches the day of the week you were born on. As Mark and I were each born on a Friday … We carried out our ceremony on the same Buddha figure who was standing up with hands in a praying position.
The Songkran Festival is a period when the Thai people cleanse and pour water mixed with Thai fragrance on Buddha images. We saw these Buddha images located in many locations from shopping malls, to hotel lobbies and gas stations. This process is believed to bring good luck to them.
During the Songkran festival we visited several Wats (temples) and were introduced to many aspects of this religious festival in addition to participating in the city water fights!
We also experimented with Thai meals. One local restaurant near our accommodation had a lengthy and intriguing menu. It also had this unusual large, playful fish in an aquarium. After researching I discovered it was a flower horn fish. The fish was at least 25 cm long and moved following your finger. It even swam upside down! I couldn’t resist creating this animation. 🥴
The next few blog posts will contain lots of photos about Songkran in Bangkok!