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  1. #1
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    Songkran in Korat

    The madness has begun. My morning run takes me along Mittrapap Highway just before the Khon Kaen turn off. Almost all of the Isaan bound traffic from Bangkok passes by this point. This morning the highway was jammed: Bangkok taxis crammed with people and stuff. Highway buses bound for the provinces full of sleeping travelers. Pickup trucks jammed to the gills with people and household goods.

    (Why do people going home for the holidays feel the need to take along their refrigerators, fans and wardrobe cabinets? Or, have these people given up on Bangkok and staying home for good?)

    One bus had broken down; it's tired and hapless passengers lolling about the highway median with no relief in sight.

    The roadside is full of vendors hoping to take advantage of the traffic slowdown as the highway approaches Korat. Every sort of food is available along with bags of soft drinks and pump action squirt guns.

    The highway police have a tent right at the Khon Kaen turnoff. They've got a TV inside this year for their entertainment. There's also a coffee pot with free coffee for tired drivers and bottles of ice cold water which they even offered to this not-so-tired runner.

    While I was out getting my exercise Ms. AC cleaned the Buddha images in our room. Sorry I didn't get a pic of that most original and genuine of Songkran activities. There's still a dozen to go in the living room.

    It was quite cool and overcast this morning. I wonder if the normal April heat will return for tomorrow revelry?

  2. #2
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    I've been wanting to clean the Buddha and other images in the living room since we moved into this house two years ago. But, somehow, the time was never right. It became right this Songkran, possibly because we're moving out of this house in a few weeks.


    Here I'm happily removing the images from their spot.


    So dirty.


    Vacuum first.


    Wipe later.


    Amulets, prayer flags, money and other treasures.


    All clean and back in place.

  3. #3
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    William's Avatar
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    ^nice one

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anonymous Coward
    My morning run
    You are certainly an inspiration.
    After this holiday, i'm getting into some serious shape.
    Thinking of taking up kayakking, it's only 50 baht for as long as you can suffer it.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anonymous Coward View Post

    (Why do people going home for the holidays feel the need to take along their refrigerators, fans and wardrobe cabinets? Or, have these people given up on Bangkok and staying home for good?)
    Bangkok workers with gifts for the family.

    Nice thread.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChiangMai noon
    Thinking of taking up kayakking, it's only 50 baht for as long as you can suffer it.
    3000 baht an hour seems a bit expensive though

  7. #7
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    Looks like my stuff after the maid has been. Her idea of cleaning is to waft all the dust about with a feather duster.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by MeMock
    Bangkok workers with gifts for the family.
    Most of it seems rather well worn to be gifts, but maybe that's it.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marmite the Dog
    Looks like my stuff after the maid has been. Her idea of cleaning is to waft all the dust about with a feather duster.
    Et tu Brutus.
    Not only thai's that are superstitious

  10. #10
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    Songkran Date

    I was wondering why most Thai religious holidays are based on lunar dates but Songkran is fixed. Wiki says:

    The date of the festival was originally set by astrological calculation, but it is now fixed....

    Even though the traditional calendar of Thailand like most of Southeast Asia uses a lunisolar calendar, the date of the new year was calculated on a purely solar basis. The term Songkran comes from Sanskrit and means "a move or change" - in this case the move of the sun into the Aries zodiac. Originally this happened at the vernal equinox, but, as the Thai astrology did not know about precession, the date moved from March to April.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thai_New_Year

  11. #11
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    nice thread.

  12. #12
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    Songkhram Nam

    Apropos of the upcoming holiday, the water has been off all day here in Baan Mai. It's just started trickling now. Maybe they've been saving up for the tomorrow's water war.

  13. #13
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    Flowers and Sand

    This evening we rode down to the main village to buy flowers for the newly cleaned shrines. On the way we saw lots of water devices for sale:


    The Ovaltine dealer seems to have a good supply.


    Ms. AC buys several garlands.

    We rode down the road to Wat Si Sala Leung.


    Representatives from each Moo in the area are decorating piles of sand.

    According to Wiki: " People carry handfuls of sand to their temple to in order to recompense the dirt that they carry away on their feet during the rest of the year. The sand is then piled into large, tiered piles and decorated with colorful flags."






    Plenty of Dok Lok.


    As I was snapping pics the very loud PA announcer was telling everyone, "See, we even have a foreigner here to take our pictures."

  14. #14
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    Famous at last!

    Actually, that white fella looks very similar to the american who used to follow Buadhai (remember him?) around on his holidays. Very spooky it was.

  15. #15
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    Dead Quiet

    Did my usual run this morning and found it oddly quiet. My route takes me through residential areas, down busy business roads and along the main highway from Bangkok to the Northeast. Normally I see people everywhere and the noise is inescapable. But, at one point this morning there was not a soul in sight and the dense silence was quite eerie.

    There was a crowd at Wat Si Sala Leung as they were holding a merit-making ceremony, but that was about it.

    Last year on the first day of Songkran the main highway was full of buses, taxis and trucks, many covered with flour and paste and full of revelers. Even on a normal weekday I usually see many of the blue and white inter-provincial buses on their way to Korat and points beyond: Surin, Udon, Khon Kaen, Nong Khai, Ubon, etc. Today, not a single one.

    Granted, there was quite a bit of traffic yesterday, but today? Zip.

    I'm going to avoid Muang Korat this year so I'll depend on someone else to post photos of that craziness. Instead I'll ride my bike to Khok Kruat, a small but very interesting village that's about 20K west of downtown Korat.

  16. #16
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    Rain

    It's been overcast most of the day and started raining, sometimes hard, on and off since about 11 AM. Looks like I'll have to postpone my Songkran fun until tomorrow.

  17. #17
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    Len Nam

    The rain finally stopped enough for me to get on my bicycle and ride to Khok Kruat. I knew I'd get drenched and covered with powder. But, once a year is OK.


    I don't get too many action shots because I'm afraid of getting the camera wet.


    I guess that's the village kathoey on the right.








    This is Baan Deua; about half way between my house and Khok Kruat.


    This is the village of Khok Kruat. The lady in red gave me a beer to drink.


    I hate the powder, but it seems there's no way to avoid it.

  18. #18
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    Khok Kruat

    For reasons unknown to me the artisans at Wat Khok Kruat make some of the nicest sand sculptures around. I was afraid the rain would have washed them out, but they still looked OK.














    Time to head back home.








  19. #19
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    AC ... can't green ya but terrific thread... thank you.


    E. G.

  20. #20
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    Thanks EG.

    This is a more closely cropped version of one of the sculptures at Wat Khok Kruat. It's hard to believe that this is all made of sand. They did a great job of making it look like a very old, well worn stupa. Great work:


  21. #21
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    Ran again this morning at about 7 AM and it was even quieter than yesterday. Very odd to run and be able to hear your footsteps the entire way. Most businesses shut and just a few vendors open for business. Mittrapap highway was so devoid of traffic you could probably safely cross it blindfolded.

    I noticed a few stalwarts sitting next to empty jars of water; beer bottles in hand, just waiting for the fun to begin again. Wish I had my camera.

  22. #22
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    Arrived Korat yesterday after a truly exhausting few days at Khao Yai, now at some hotel intending to rest up for the day, check out some Korat-specific sites (Korat zoo?) over the next couple of days then head slowly back towards the retards arriving late 19th or early 20th.

    Nicer and more laid back people met so far, but a decent meal desperately sought. Can any Koratians recommend some place with legit roast lamb and trimmings? - must confess after yesterday's ersatz humus and shawarma at some Lebanese/Thai/Farang joint near the hotel would happily settle for a down to earth beans on doorstep.

    Also, what's there to do/see on today's unscheduled walkabout?

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by keda
    Can any Koratians recommend some place with legit roast lamb and trimmings?
    I'm sorry. I couldn't stop laughing after reading this.

    You might try the PB restaurant which is discussed here:

    Pork Ham and "choucroute Alsacienne " ! New place in Korat !

    Or the restaurant at the Amporn hotel which is discussed here:

    Hotel Restaurant, Chef Cuisine And Management Swiss,

    What hotel are you at and what are you interested in seeing? If you're on foot you could walk into town and observe the Songkran madness in the vicinity of the Tao Suranaree Monument and Chumpol Gate.

  24. #24
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    Everything you ever needed to know about Korat
    http://teakdoor.com/view.php?pg=kora...es-restaurants

  25. #25
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    ^Wow. Nice work. When did you put that together?

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