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Friday, April 13, 2012

It's the most wonderful time of the year. Songkran

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I always feel like breaking into song when Songkran comes around.  This year is number 12 for me and I have never ever failed to be impressed with the total anarchy that prevails here.  Not for everyone and there are some hate the whole experience and shut themselves away for the week, head north or just get wet and complain about it.

Love it or hate it, it does not look like going away anytime soon and there are people book special holidays to be here at this time of the year.  Me and young Tony "The Pielet" have been practicing and he really has his eye in now.  Got him with a snide one this morning just as he woke up as I know he is going to be hitting me all day... even when I am grumpy and on the phone, toilet or just baking bread.

Small as Bang Niang is, there are enough of us and enough bars and eateries to make a real go of it. There is a sizable roadblock planned and the shop opposite has set up a tent selling water guns, buckets and other Songkran paraphernalia.

Usual place for Songkran down the years for me, has been Pattaya.  But age has tempered my ability to drink party and waterfight for 4-6 days.  The one day suffices now and we enjoy this condensed version of in non-the-less.

Pics to follow.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Tsunami . True faith in human nature....

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I've always liked people and can't think of anybody that I dislike or couldn't say something positive about.  It's the old Yorkshire adage "if you can't say owt nice, don't say owt at all" coming in.

Yesterday my abiding faith in the human race was rewarded with a fantastic display by the locals and  visitors in Bang Niang, Khao Lak... and I am sure this is true of all affected areas.

15:50 yesterday and Duang disturbs my afternoons "Only Fools and Horses".."Yuppy Love" as it happens, which is the episode where Rodney meets Casandra and Del boy falls through the bar in what is arguably the funniest moment from the entire series.  Pie tag here is that Trigger is only in the bar with Del as he has been barred from the Nags Head on suspicion of stealing a pork pie.

Quick click round twitter, I tend to follow Richard Barrow!/RichardBarrow as he manages to find news articles and links that would pass me right by.  Seems the word from the massage shop was right (it usually is) and there has been an earthquake with a possible Tsunami on the way...... again!  I say again as we were here during the 2004 one and we really did not want to see another one close up.  So... on the instructions of my wife, we packed and left... orderly.

What I first noticed was how all the neighbours were checking on the elderly and making sure they could get clear.  Offers of lifts abounded, all car spaces were filled, motorcycles returned from "The Hill" time and time again.  Orderly and very considerately making sure everybody who wanted to get away, got away.   So it was, We drove from the shop, picking up two of the massage girls from across the street, few bottles of water, couple of fresh Chicken and Mushroom pies that had just come out, and we were off.

It's only 100 meters to the small road that leads to the back of Bang Niang, but traffic was building slowly and everybody was checking that the old lady had got out of the corner shop... She had, but people still checked. Onwards and upwards past the rear of the Patrol Boat that the previous Tsunami had deposited back in 2004, the sirens around it were wailing and messages were being imparted, but passing that point we were all pretty much assured of surival.   Few checks around, met up with friends and settled in for the evening.

So many people had climbed that hill, but what really struck home was the owners of the houses all had their doors open, drinks, ice, shelter from the torrential rain that hit us and televisions to catch the news.  There were no closed doors, just great friendly, concerned welcomes and offers of beds for the babies and toddlers... of which I have one.  Tony loves playing out in the rain as he is half falang and like me, loves the rain so we toughed it out.  Acutally enjoyed being cool for a change.

My brother in law had fled even further up the hill to really great height and it took some considerable puffing and panting to catch up with the 200-300 people who had gone to very high ground with him.  Turns out, this hill, offers views of the sea that were not available further down.  So, most had gone to watch for the event rather than in fear of a 200 meter high wave... which is what it would have taken to reach them.  

Just a few workmen's huts up there and rubber tappers..... Tin shacks... little more, but all with doors open, welcome smiles, water and ice buckets outside and the odd bottle of beer and whiskey.  All shared gladly and all full of children when the rains returned.  What people.

Thankfully, no wave materialised this time, and 4 hours later, be got the all clear and returned to our homes.  I have to say, the Police and Rescue services had done a fantastic job of guiding traffic and people to higher ground and it was all done calmly.  Flashing lights and sirens marked the small roads that led to the hill and they were manned in a very professional manner.

Can't say enough about people and I hope the mainstream media catch onto this rather than the handful of moaners that tend to hog the limelight at times like these.  They certainly keep a welcome in the hillside for us.

No pictures again.  I didn't even realise I had my camera with me.!!!!