Monday, April 17, 2006


News flash from The Nation, “Bangkok’s Independent Newspaper”:


Curbs on revellersUnruly frolickers blamed for mayhem and carnage on the roads, blinding motorists with thoughtless water attacks

To prevent road accidents during the Songkran holidays next year, water-splashing will be allowed only on designated roads, the Interior Minister said yesterday.

Though many road accidents this year took place on secondary roads, many people were splashing water on main roads, making them prone to accidents, said Chidchai Vanasathidya, who has assumed the duties of caretaker Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.
Read the entire article *here*, (if it’s still online).

Not only did I witness this “reckless behavior,” I was one of those “unruly frolickers”. That’s a first for me. I’ve never been called a frolicker before. I’m guilty, Your Honor, with an explanation.

I had no idea it was Thai/Buddhist New Year’s Eve.

I had never heard of “The Wetting.”

I found out about both when I got abducted and found myself participating. I was peacefully watching TV in my bedroom at 7 PM when The Jungle Princess came in and ordered me downstairs. This is usually for a visit by one of her many relatives.

Of course I complied. I know how to keep things well lubricated.

There were a bunch of guys and girls and they had a pickup in the lane. In the back of the pickup were 3 garbage cans and 2 large plastic basins filled with water.

“Do you want to ride?” they asked me.

“Well, okay, sure, why not?” They seemed eager to have me along. I didn’t want to be a spoil sport.

“In front or in back?”

In back seemed like the ‘guy thing.’ They all approved.

The pickup started off with 15 on board plus the water. 10 of us were in the back, including my four kids, (yes, 4 now, don’t ask) and 5 in the club cab. Your Honor, I still had no idea what was going on. I think they looked on me as a trophy.

Suddenly I was in the middle of a pickup war. They drove alongside and doused us with water. We did the same for them. Any water I threw, Your Honor, was strictly in self defense. Some of our attackers used ice water. That didn’t seem fair.

I was once in Lima, Peru during Carnavale. Many used water pistols there. Some filled their pistols with ether. That was very cold when it touched my skin. It was said that some were spraying sewer water. That is truly evil.

Here in Bangkok I was a curiosity and a target, being the only farang (westerner) in the pickup wars. Buses pulled alongside and all the passengers smiled down at the soaked farang. At a stop, a guy walked over from his pickup to soak me with a pot of ice water. I must say that it was all done in total good humor. Throughout the evening, with all the drunkenness and pressing crowds, I never saw a sign of animosity.

By the time we got downtown all our water was gone. We parked. In leaping off the back of the pickup, I didn’t allow that my legs had been in a squatting position half the time. My right leg collapsed and I rolled on the wet pavement. I quickly told everyone that, “I meant to do that.”

Then they started lining up, each asking, “Are you all right?” I think they got people from all over downtown to come over and inquire after my health. They brought one guy on a stretcher with an IV sticking in his arm to ask, “Are you all right?”

Okay, I exaggerate a little, but it was a little excessive. The old guy took at tumble, get over it.

From where we parked, we walked a mile or more to get into a frenetic crowd scene. People had gathered in front of some bars that were blasting loud music. Scantily clad women were dancing in windows upstairs. The crowd was as close as any I had ever been in. Cheap feels were available but weren’t any fun because we were packed so tight it was hard to distinguish the sex of the feelee. And what Thais call “girly-boys” were out in force. Thais seemed to spot them easily but I needed a scorecard and none was available.

With so many people jammed so tight, I started picturing a Muslim style stampede. We worked our way to some breathing space on the fringe from where I could do some girl-watching. With everyone soaked there should have been a hundred thousand wet T-shirts. But all Thai women wear bras so the water was wasted. It was nice to watch anyway because they always wear the tightest clothes possible.

After another hour or so we all went home.

And there you have it, Your Honor. I am guilty of being a “frolicker,” but it wasn’t my fault.


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