Monday, April 19, 2010

This and That

Well Songkran is over (thank goodness). A couple of comments about it. The numbers of people in CM celebrating Songkran seemed to be down this year. I don't know if this was because of the horrible heat, the political situation or what. The number of foreigners was way down. From the worthless backpacker scum at the bottom, to the socially parasitic, culturally insensitive Five Star Resort Stayers at the top, the number of tourists in Thailand is way down. It is not hard to understand why. The government can't even keep control of its capital city. And now with the travel disruptions in Europe, even more tourists will stay away.

On a more positive note, the weather is cooler this week. Still very hot, but not the Melt You into a Puddle Then Bake You Dry kind of heat we have been having. This morning there were actually some clouds in the sky. Everyone got excited and thought it might rain, but it didn't. The weather forecast shows a 20 to 30 percent chance this weekend, so we will cross our fingers and hope.

We also started the third summer term this week. I got the classes I taught in Summer One, so it is nice to see familiar and friendly faces in the classroom. Only nine more teaching days and summer will be over!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Songkran musings

Been a long time since I posted. No excuse really. I have been busy, but even in busy times there are moments of respite. Really I just haven't felt like there was anything worthy of posting happening lately.

Right now I have a week off from work while Thailand celebrates Songkran. This is the traditional Thai New Year. (Although it is also the traditional Lao and Khmer New Year as well. They also celebrate Songkran, although with much less abandon.) Songkran runs from the 13th to the 15th. Most places in Thailand limit the public celebration part to just the 13th. But this is Chiang Mai, the city that started Songkran. They celebrate it full on for five days. You can't travel anywhere in the city without being soaked with water. The city moat is the center of the festivities. The moat is six kilometers long and the entire length of it will be packed with people throwing water on other people. It is quite a spectacle, but one that loses its appeal quickly, at least to an old guy like me. I would have liked to leave town, but I need to save my money, so here I am.

This has also been the hottest summer since I have been in Thailand. It is not as hot as I was last year in Cambodia, nor as humid, but here I have to live and work. There I was able to take a several hour siesta in the hottest part of the day. Normally the rains have begun by now, not the monsoon, but the early "mango rains", so called because they coincide with the ripening of the mango crop. This year we are in the midst of the worst drought in many years, so we haven't had a drop of rain to cool the afternoons down.

Well, I really need to clean my room, so I had better get to it.