Mithun On The NetPersonal website of Mithun Divakaran, a guy you may or may not know — or like.
Thailand 2010: Chiang Mai Loi Krathong celebrations; first Grand Parade
Date: 21st November 2010
After the unfortunate turn of events for me yesterday, I woke up today feeling a bit warmer inside. Not in a good way, more like having-a-body-temperature kind of way!
I woke up for a late breakfast, which I had at Rux Thai itself, and then went back to the room… to sulk. Hoping things would get better, health-wise and otherwise.
By the time I told myself there was no use sulking all day, I stepped out… at 6pm.
Lo Kroh looked deserted
Many of the bars and restaurants were decorated in celebration of Yi Peng festival
I walked towards Thapae Gate to see if there was anything going on.
Didn’t seem like much
Guess that takes care of dinner for tonight
I walked a bit further, and things had started to ‘brighten’ up.
This wasn’t the only decoration Thapae gate got
The one downside (sometimes) of carrying around a pro-looking camera is people assume you know how to take really good photographs and will do a better job than they can. I have often been asked to take photos of strangers using their point-and-shoot cameras and today was no exception.
After being asked by some Taiwanese woman to take a few photos of her, I asked her to return the favour
They had a stage set up for some function
I crossed the road and walked to the other side, hoping to explore more
Plenty of stalls set up everywhere
This is Ratchadamnoen road
I entered this place out of curiosity
Okay fine, it was the food!
Hey, it’s Anthony Bourdain!?*
You can never go hungry in Thailand
Unless you are strictly vegetarian
Even though this was a temple…
… it essentially got turned into a ‘food court’
Once outside, I asked Tourist Police officer (an American woman) whether there was anything special planned for today. She told me yesterday was the big release of the lanterns in Mae Jo, today there wouldn’t be anything special and tomorrow would be the concluding Grand Parade.
She didn’t come of as confident and ‘in-the-know’. Something I was used to by now.
Still, I walked on
Steeped into another temple on Ratchadamnoen road
Though I forgot to note down the name of the temple
More stalls inside here as well
Lots of eating here too
I was sooo tempted to bang it
I got back out to Ratchadamnoen road
Then I saw this…
… and it looked like a parade…
…which looked quite, grand
Here’s part one of the videos I took of the parade:
I take it the floats were showcasing Thailand’s culture from across all provinces
And I also take it these participating groups were colleges, schools, and other establishments
This guy wasn’t part of the parade… but was getting a lot of attention anyway
Here’s part two video of the parade:
Walked this alley out of curiosity
More celebrations awaited me inside.
Lanterns from below joining the fireworks in the sky
Now it were the monks who wanted to light a big one
A really big one
You obviously cannot use matchsticks to light a lantern this big
Wait for it to heat up inside
Wait for it…
Okay, everybody’s waiting… just let go of it already!
And it’s up
Near Rux Thai, this was the sight
Walked back to Thapae Gate
There was a beauty contest going on
Packed audience too
Switched to the 70-200mm lens for a closer look
I wasn’t the only one
A rather ‘traditional’ looking beauty contest
Just before the winner is announced, the women get the ‘God-I-hope-that-b***h-doesn’t-win!’-look
She gets a placard…
…which says something in Thai
The runner-ups get a month’s supply of instant noodles*
Lanterns were still floating up
The stage cleared. I didn’t wait to see what was next.
I walked on down to Thapae Road next
As I walked along, I saw a large crowd gather around someone.
Everybody was watching this guy
He was mighty impressive
So I decided to take a video:
I tipped him 10 baht and continued down the road.
There were a few other street performers as well
Lots of fireworks today… which is always nice
Hey, those lion statues resemble the official emblem of India!
Curious as to what the possible ‘Indian connection’ could be, I went inside Wat Buppharam.
Looked like just another Buddhist temple to me
I got back out to Thapae Road and made my way towards Nawarat bridge.
Lots of media
The parade was still on
It was crowded!
They had a stage set up… sadly for the band, very few were watching
Volunteers in condom costumes distributed free condoms and promoted AIDS awareness
The people on Nawarat bridge
Many devotees releasing krathongs into Ping river
And if you’re wondering what those people in the waters are doing, they’re ‘stealing’
Stealing what? Money. When the locals pray and release the krathongs, they often place some money as an offering to the river goddess. These shameless people then wait for the krathongs to float their way and then take the money. CNNGo has a good article on these ‘river bandits’.
It’s hard to capture what I saw with my eyes no matter how much I tried
It’s not just the hundreds of paper lanterns in the sky in front of me. There were hundreds more to my left, right, behind me… everywhere! I kept wondering “How does one truly capture the experience in one frame!”
I moved to another bridge
The parade was at the end of its run
Krathongs and khomloys (paper lanterns) for sale
I walked down these steps
Plenty of fireworks soon went off near Rim Ping Hotel
Kinda looks like the Death Star doesn’t it?
Ping river was packed with devotees
And a few big floats
I walked towards the Chiang Mai Municipality building
Cultural shows were going on
One of the performers; dressed very geisha-like
These paintings were on the walls of the US Consulate
I was starting to get hungry at this point
Lots of flowers today as well
Not sure if these were roses
Some temple near the market
It was nearing midnight, time to head back to the room
Celebrations on Loy Kroh road were timid at best
As seen at a small Indian eatery near Rux Thai
As I sat on my bed before going to sleep, I reviewed the snaps I had taken today. After yesterday’s disappointment, and how I felt when I woke up today, my mood was definitely more upbeat after I saw my photos.