Friday, April 21, 2006

The largest water fight known to man.... The Bhuddist New Year

(This pic was not taken at the time I am describing...) The bridge was lined with players filling their weapons with the water spewing from small tubes along the rail—probably fed from the river water. There were only a few cars out; mostly the roads were crowded with pick up trucks, bikes--motorcycles, (and occasionally a songtaew, a kind of local taxi) overflowing with people, mostly younger/teenage, throwing water from the barrels in the middle of the truck beds. Along the street, however, people of every age could be seen joining in the fight, from a child just big enough to use the water gun to the elderly woman sitting behind her shop table, almost everyone plays (at least in this part of town). The weapons consisted of waterguns of varying size, small pails dipped into large barrels of water, hoses, and large buckets filled from the same barrels.
It seems the trick was nothing more than to get everyone as wet as humanly possible, and everyone does their part-- like a Mardi Gras, with water, not beads. The locals played, but seemed to get special delight out of targeting the foreigners among them, and there were plenty to choose from. Many people would simply pour the water over your head or shoulders as you passed by, with the visual resemblance to a blessing being poured. This was usually done with a gentle, warm smile and sometimes the “Happy New Year.” However, many of the younger people and children have learned the art of timing a tossed bucket of water so as to nail the passerbyer in the face as they speed by on a bike, songtaew, ect. (making this festival time one of the most dangerous times of the year with way too many people dying in traffic accidents or drowning in the moat after drinking too much). This might also be accompanied by a “Happy New Year” but more often simply the laughter of the person who had successfully hit his target. The festival demands a ridiculous amount of water; people especially line the moat and use its muddy, warm water for attack, throwing their buckets down from the road with a string and pulling them back up or simply climbing down in it and swimming as they refill. Traffic here is impossible, but no one really seems to mind as it's the center of the water fight. Apart from the moat, the trucks almost all carry a large barrel of water in order to keep their supply mobile. This water is sometimes iced down and gives an extra shock to the victim when hit.
We were scolded more than once for trying to refill water from certain barrels; I never figured out what signified a water source as public access or not.
Over all it was an incredible experience. Like a child, wide-eyed, I walked through the largest water fight I’ve ever seen. As long as you don’t mind every inch of your body being utterly soaked with water from every imaginable temperature and you really have nowhere in particular to go, it is great fun. I especially enjoyed spraying the children. They played because it is fun and that’s what kids do. And you wonder if you should spray back in response, smile, ignore them, squeal and laugh, or be annoyed (at least pretend to be as though they shouldn’t do such things). But you know that deep inside you're enjoying it just as much as they are...

Tuesday, April 04, 2006


alright, so... of course we couldn't let the boys be the only cool ones with the bikes, so me and Reaiah decided we HAD to invest temporarily in a sweet ride.
Unfortunately my first try at driving ended only in some broken glass (hence the pic) and a few scrapes and bumps on the shoulder...but not to fear, i was not allowed to wallow in my shame and humility--some genius (namely my teammate) thought it a good idea that we should go ahead and get our own later that same day (though neither of us had gotten on it by ourselves without running into something--a window, a wall, ect.) AND that I should be the one to drive it home. not only had neither of us had a successful run on it, but my second time to drive was to be from the center of the city (a very large Asian city) to the place we are staying about 20 minutes away... good news is I did make it home, somehow, without hurting myself or someone else.
so there is a happy ending. if any of you were Thinkin of me in the last few days, you can bet that its cause i was driving at the time and i really needed it. After a few more runs i think i have got a handle on it and can get around without almost causing accidents at every intersection.
it may slightly endanger myself and my teammate, but it sure is fun...

Sunday, April 02, 2006

sweet ride, huh... man, it's beautiful here!

ok, so we did manage to find our way around beautifully in Paris, but still had some trouble finding the airport again. took us about 4 tries, i believe, before getting on the right Metro... but not to fear, we finally made it back and in plenty of time to catch the flight

Reaiah experimenting with our first meal from scratch.... not sure how we're gonna do this without our rice cooker....

Saturday, April 01, 2006

that last one was me and Reaiah on our DC trip-- wud up, GW?

us by the river in K-town (where we're gonna live...)

to infinity... and beyond!

hey bu--ddy!
so after being here (outside the US) for 3 weeks I have successfully managed to eat African food only once and use a squatty potty only once. This roughing it thing is NO problem... haha! instead its been French, Italian, Chinese, Korean, Thai, Mexican, ect.. all quite good. especially that mexican food. oh i miss my mexican food...