I wrote earlier that Songkran 2017 had so far been a huge disappointment compared to last year. But the Thai people were just saving the best for last.
Today, I travelled to Rompho Market, a large complex of bars, street food, massage shops, barbers, restaurants and other small businesses.
I had observed from my condo window, that an assortment of small stalls were set up along the roadside, which are not normally there. Curiosity got the better of me so I had a sneak peak at what was going on.
Street vendors were selling food, water guns, waterproof pockets and a variety of other items, which may prove useful for the water events and those in attendance.
But what was more surprising was the vast amount of people who had gathered by the side of the road, with one goal in mind – to immerse people in water.
Now I am a good two miles from the centre of Pattaya and have never witnessed the likes of this previously. As I headed towards Rompho in my taxi, there were literally thousands of people. lining the streets and showering passersby with water.
The traffic congestion was horrendous but far from boring. I could have spend all day watching the antics of the locals as they went about the business of soaking people or indeed being soaked in return.
A guy had a fire hose and was showering people as the they passed by in open backed pick-ups. Pick-up and trailers were full of people and containers of water. Again, there was only one place that water was going.
People were dancing in the middle of a four lane road, which had cars using the wrong side just to make some distance, including my impatient taxi driver.
It was party time in Pattaya at last. A time for me to attempt to capture the action.
However my camera was very much tucked away in my bag and remained there till I got to Rompho. Then I went in search of the hilarity.
It is fair to say that the majority of the people who take part in the shenanigans are either girls or kids. The men of Rompho preferring to remain in one of the fifty bars, although that did not always guarantee safety, as you can see in the second image from the top.
My good friend Jeff was treated to bucket of icy water as he enjoyed a beer.
People walk around with buckets of what is either flour or talcum powder mixed with water, to form a paste, which they then use to cover a persons face with the substance.
I am not sure what the significance is but most people welcome the temporary facial.
I had two fears. One was someone pouring a large bucket of water over me and drenching the camera and the other was being hit in the eye with the high powered jet from one of the water guns.
The camera is allegedly waterproof and has had a number of wet days over the years.
The eyes however; well let’s just say one of these guns could blind someone.
I was hit in the eye on day one and I can tell you, it hurt like blazes. I did not hold back when telling the guy he was an idiot for aiming at my face. He did apologise profusely I have to add.
Songkran from a photography point of view is a fantastic time. I only wish I had a back up camera so I could risk getting right in amongst the action but having only one with me, I opted for safer ground.
Today was the final day of the celebrations. The people of Thailand will no doubt party throughout the night but tomorrow, it will be back to work for most.
The image above of my mate Jimmy getting wet, came about because I instructed the girls and kids to target him.
This was actually the last in a series of six images. The best ones were taken seconds before but alas they were also blurry and no good.
So it’s a sad farewell to Songkran 2017 but I sincerely hope I am around for the 2018 celebrations.