Floats & Fighters (56k warning)

This past Wednesday was Loy Krathong, one of Thailand’s bigger holidays. “Loy” (or “Loi.” They spell phonetically, so most words have several spellings) means float and “Krathong” is a boat-thing made of banana leaves. On Loy Krathong, everyone goes to the river to float their banana boats as an offering to the river spirit to apologize for the rest of the year, when they toss empty green tea bottles and baby diapers into her waters (I’m assuming).

Though that’s, perhaps, the most central aspect of Loy Krathong, the holiday includes a boatload of other fun stuffs that I got to experience first-hand. Me and the other American teachers got picked up by our coordinator to head to the village celebration. Though poor Amy was sick and had to stay home (singing the Loy Krathong song to herself), so there were only three of us.

The Loy Krathong Song feat. Sisqo. “Kra-thong, Kra-thong-thong-thong!”

It was pretty much your standard partybration. People were out in the streets, tents of food, a dance floor consisting mainly of older women, etc.IMG_20121128_202928_538IMG_20121128_203712_713

Me outside the temple with Buddhist Bart Simpson.

Me outside the temple with Buddhist Bart Simpson.

We ran into a ton of students. Here's one of mine making a Krathong. She's one of my sweetest, most enthusiastic students, so I was pretty surprised that she wears a shirt of skulls when not in her school uniform. I'm gonna start calling her Rattleshirt in class.

We ran into a ton of students. Here’s one of mine making a Krathong. She’s one of my sweetest, most enthusiastic students, so I was pretty surprised that she wears a shirt of skulls when not in her school uniform. I’m gonna start calling her Rattleshirt in class.

The entries from the Krathong building contest.

The entries from the Krathong building contest.

Everybody Loying their Krathongs. Most people put a bit of money on their Krathong's for good luck. The boys "help" eveyone who doesn't want to get ankle deep in dirty water by pushing their Krathong's further out. And only for the small fee of whatever people put on their Krathong's. Hustlin'.

Everybody Loying their Krathongs. Most people put a bit of money on their Krathong’s for good luck. The boys “help” eveyone who doesn’t want to get ankle deep in dirty water by pushing their Krathong’s further out. And only for the small fee of whatever people put on their Krathong’s. Hustlin’.

We watched a beauty contest and each cheered a different woman to win as if they were racehorses. Some tall, pale 15 year old that none of us chose ended up winning by a furlong.

We watched a beauty contest and each cheered a different woman to win as if they were racehorses, because we’re animals. Some tall, pale, 15 year old that none of us chose ended up winning by a furlong. She’s the mare that’s third from the left.

Possibly the coolest additional tradition of Loy Krathong is the lighting of the sky lanterns. You see all those UFOs in the sky above the temple? Turns out they’re not UFOs at all! They’re giant, mini-hot-air-balloon lanterns and people light them as a symbolic letting your woes and burdens float away type thing. The carefree meaning is ironic because lighting the lantern and letting enough smoke fill it so that it can sustain flight is a terrifying ordeal [for simple-minded foreigners]. We let our lantern go two or three times, thinking it was ready to fly free (and because our hands were on fire), only to have to catch it when it started plummeting towards the power lines beneath us.

The lighted mass on the left is where we sent our lantern up from.

The lighted bridge on the left is where we sent our lantern up from.

I didn’t get any pictures of us sending up the lantern because, I was trying not to die in a fire, but here’s a Youtube representation of Loy Krathong’s majesty. It’s really beautiful.

So that was Loy Krathong on Wednesday. Pretty great day. The second part of my title, though, happened on Friday. Long story short:

I MET BUAKAW!! SU SU BUAKAWWWWW!!

I MET BUAKAW!! SU SU BUAKAWWWWW!!

Buakaw’s facebook group advertised a meet & greet with fans. I wasn’t sure if anyone would speak English, but someone barely did and I made a reservation. The event was from 7 to 10pm on Friday night, but I underestimated the trip time and didn’t end up getting into Bangkok and meeting up with Taylor until around 8. Then we had to travel to the hostel to drop our stuff off and didn’t end up getting to the place (far from central Bangkok) until 10. By the time we searched the mall to find the actual restaurant, it was after 10, but lo’ and behold, he was still sitting there downing a glass of wine and chillin with the entourage. I imagine he’d had a long day and probably didn’t have the energy or desire to fumble his way through English, so we didn’t exchange any words, but everyone treated everyone there like family. We were sat down, fed (it was 2000 baht to eat, but when I said that I didn’t bring enough money, they were like “0 baht is cool too” and gave us plates of food) and welcomed, even though we showed at closing time. There was a cool band playing that I should’ve taken pictures of, Buakaw signed a shirt for me and fun was had by all. Man…awesome time.

Then Saturday, the Suphanburi teachers came down to Bangkok and I got to see Liz get a sweet birthday tattoo. And when I got back to my home and working internet, I learned that my brother had sung the national anthem live on ESPNU like a BAUCE!!

Good weekend.

Hope you’re all doing well! Miss you!

What I’m Reading: The Once and Future King by T.H. White (It’s becoming one of the best books I’ve ever read, so I don’t know what’s taking me so long)

What I’m Writing: Grad School Personal Statements

What I’m Listening To: Love is a Four Letter Word by Jason Mraz

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1 comment
  1. joy said:

    Buddha Bart Simpson and the flying yoga flames were my faves of this post. How beautiful!

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