Sunday, 20 April 2008
Songkran or Water Festival. Thailand.
We just celebrated Songkran or the water festival here in Thailand. We were heading towards Ubon when I noticed a smoke screen up ahead.
As we got closer, it was a van that must have been fumigating for mosquitoes, the funny thing was there were police everywhere and none of them had thought to put this polluter off the road.
During Songkran pick-up trucks are always overloaded to the max. This is a main road where the speed limit is 100km.
In Noot’s mum’s village some of the local kids where out the front of her house playing with water and having a ball.
On the way back into Ubon there were plenty of kids on the edge of the main road having a ball.
In Ubon little streets had families set up for a day of fun.
Another family having fun.
This pick-up has just fueled up and its way overloaded cargo is heading back out for more fun.
This pick-up just arrived for fuel with the kids on the back soaked to the bone.
This is a duel carriageway and as you can see a motorbike is heading the wrong way. This happens all the time and you will even come across cars doing this. They do it as they don’t want to have to go the right way for a kilometre and do a U-turn, so instead they simply go the wrong way a few hundred or so metres endangering their lives and others.
This is a main road with a 100km speed limit stopped. It is meant to be illegal to play on main roads such as this, but it isn’t enforced.
A monk was waiting for a ride into the city. It looked like people had enough respect not to wet him, thankfully.
Here some novice monks were playing on the main road; I have never seen monks play Songkran before, a first in 4 years.
The main road stopped again and some idiots in the middle of the road.
This girl threw the bucket of water into the back of the truck wetting the people trying to hide and keep dry.
These two dimwits were playing in the middle of the road. The law of averages usually catches up with you. We were going slowly but other impatient people were not slowing down a lot and passing very dangerously.
Over the Songkran period, called the 7 dangerous days; this is the official road toll. This doean’t include Pattaya which is currently playing Songkran.
There was a total of 368 deaths and 4,803 injuries in 4, 243 accidents nationwide.
When compared to the same period last year, this year's figures were 31 less accidents, seven more deaths, and two less injuries.
Most accidents resulted from drunk driving at 40.56 per cent, involved motorcycles at some 82 per cent and took place during 4pm to 8pm at 32.24 per cent.
Most accidents are on village roads, drunken kids on motorbikes without helmets, the government are thinking of new laws and alcohol measures but this will not change a thing in rural areas as it isn’t policed. If they just enforced the underage drinking law and arrested kids who were drunk underage and also people selling and supplying the alcohol to them would help a lot, but again, practically this couldn’t happen as jail cells would be overflowing out the doors and windows.
I really enjoy Songkran, it is a heap of fun in the city, of course some take it too far and use hot powder that gets rubbed in your eyes and burns, and others add stuff to their water, like chili to make it burn but the majority of people play in good spirit and have a hell of a lot of fun.