Wednesday Write-up: A Wet Songkran

This past Sunday was the beginning of Songkran, the Thai New Year, here in Thailand. Songkran is a country-wide water fight held every year from April 13th-15th. Depending on where you live (or are visiting) in Thailand, the celebrating can last one day to 6 days. In Phuket we celebrate it one day, the first day of Songkran on the 13th, whereas in Chiang Mai it lasts for 6 days at least.

This was my first Songkran. I have been to Thailand many times in the past, but have never timed it right to be here when the water fights were happening. I decided that I would write today about what we did on Sunday. Chad is going to write a helpful post on Friday to help you if you choose to visit Thailand for this fantastic party, so make sure to check it out, follow, and share if you would like to.

On Saturday, our friends and neighbors started a water fight to prepare for the big day. We tested out our massive water guns on each other, as well as on some of the neighborhood kids. We were all drenched and laughing. Z proved to be quite a good aim with the garden hose. It was a good way to get her (and me) prepared for the public water fights the next day.

Z getting ready for the next days festivities.

Z getting ready for the next days festivities.

For Sunday, we had made plans to hang out with our friends, who have a little girl near the same age as Zoë. We arrived at their place with swimsuits and sunscreen on, towels in tow, and beers chilling on ice.

We started on our drive at around 11 am. The boys started off in the back of the truck to assess the craziness of the water fights before we let the girls partake in the festivities. I sat inside the truck to try to take some pictures. All of us girls listened to music, talked, and laughed at all the people getting doused with water along the way. That includes our guys in the back, who were soaking wet within minutes of starting our drive.

Never have I seen anything like the Songkran water fights. Cars, trucks, and scooters were crawling down the streets that were lined with people throwing water from containers of all sizes. I tried to get good pictures, but it was difficult from the cab of the truck, and there was no way that I could have gotten pictures outside of the truck without having Chad’s camera ruined with a wayward splash. So I am going to let Chad use most of them in his post on Friday.

A truck full of people ready to soak everyone around them.

A truck full of people ready to soak everyone around them.

After one trip going from Rawai to Nai Harn we stopped to refill our water tanks from a kind person’s hose. I hopped out and got in the back of the truck to help the boys with the water throwing. Z and her friend were still not really interested in getting wet, so they stayed in the truck. I was quickly soaked with freezing cold water as someone came up and poured a bucket over me before we could drive off from where we had stopped. It was hilarious and shocking! I quickly got into the swing of things and was throwing water at all the people that we passed by, trying to get them before they could get me.

Water fight!

Water fight!

What fun it all was! Everyone was laughing and yelling “Sawasdee pi mai ka” (or sawasdee pi mai kop in they were male) and having a good time. Along one stretch of road there was a large group of locals that would stop each car and surround it, splashing water and smearing wet baby powder and mentholated cream on everyone’s cheeks (facial cheeks guys, lets keep this clean). It was so fascinating to be a part of the celebration.

While this was going on, I kept thinking that I wanted to replace every holiday back home with a community water fight. Of course at home someone would most likely file a lawsuit against someone else for something or other, and the festivities would quickly be done away with. It is so saddening to think that California (maybe all of the US, I’m not sure) has become so litigious, that real joyful fun like Songkran on a community level is very rare if not extinct. Okay, off my soap box now…

We drove this way for about another 2 hours, switching off driving duties, throwing water, shooting others with water guns, filling up our buckets along the way, and just plain old having a ton of fun.  Zoë eventually got out and braved the constant barrage of water and even threw some buckets of water at people along the way. I was proud of her, it’s not many almost-3-year-olds that could handle a situation like that.  (Times like that make me realize again why we are on this journey, not only for our own education and enjoyment, but also for Zoë’s.)

Eventually we the little ones got tired, so we headed back to our friends place to have some lunch. Then Chad, Zoë, and I went home and rested for most of the day. I was exhausted and a tad sunburnt and I got a couple of bruises from sitting on the hard truck bed, but besides that I was unscathed besides being SOAKED!  I felt very thankful to be able to join in the fun and festivities, and it has cemented my love for this amazing country even more.

Have you ever been to a Songkran celebration in Thailand? What did you love/hate about it? Does the place where you live have a holiday or celebration that you think is enjoyable? Tell me about it!

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Wednesday Write-Up: The Sound of Drills Gives Me Chills

Dentist extracting tooth.

I just was in one of the most feared places that most people could imagine. The DENTISTS office!!! Yes, that’s right, I have returned from a dentist’s office once more in my lifetime and am still alive!

A couple of weeks ago, I was carelessly inhaling eating a soft cookie, when a part of a rather large filling in my back tooth seemed to dissolve into nothing. I was flabbergasted and a bit anxious as I looked in the mirror and saw an actual hole in my back tooth. I calmed myself down with another cookie and decided to call a dentist the next day.

There is a Facebook group here in Phuket called the Phuket New Era Expats that is a wonderful resource for getting other expats help with anything on the island. I promptly put up a post about what torturer dentist is most liked in my area. I got many recommendations for a place called 32 Dental Clinic which happens to be a 5 minute drive from my house. I decided to go with them, but never called to make an appointment. Why do today that which could be done many tomorrows later?

With the thought that we are leaving for the States in 10 days, I figured I should get my tooth fixed before we go home where dental care costs every cent you will ever make for the rest of your life much more. I finally called yesterday and made an appointment at 32 Dental Clinic for today.

This evening, I was a bundle of exposed nerves (thank God not the nerves of my tooth… root canals are truly my worst nightmare and I never want to have one done… EVER!) and was admittedly mildly panicking as I walked into the office to the sound of screams drills and that weird smell that only a dentist’s office has. Seriously, does every dentist in the world have the same air freshener, or is it the sweet smell of fear from the hundreds of patients coming and going? I don’t know, maybe a dentist reads this blog and can answer this question. I think we would all like to know…

I filled out my paperwork and was ushered immediately into a clean and modern looking exam room. I spoke with the dentist, Dr. Lee, and told her what had happened. She leaned me back, took a look, and gave me a couple of options. I love a healthcare provider that will sit with you and explain all the options and be understanding when you ask questions, like… “What do you have to do to place a crown?”, or “Can you just give me general anesthesia to do this dental work”, or my favorite question for the dentist, “You don’t have to do a root canal, do you?” as I lay in the chair sobbing my eyes out.

I am exaggerating, no tears were shed in the dentist’s chair today, well, at least not by me. I took the option to fill the tooth again (it should last 2-4 years… long enough for me right now). She immediately sat me back and I tried to appear at ease as the dental assistant placed a blue cloth over my whole face with only a hole for my mouth. All I could do was shut my eyes and wait for the impending injection of Novocaine and hope and pray that it would go smoothly.

I heard the drill and grabbed the blue clothe off my face and asked with just a little tremble in my voice if she was going to use Novocaine. She chuckled and said that she was just cleaning the remaining filling and I wouldn’t feel a thing. The drill sounded again as I settled into the chair and literally five (yes, 5!) minutes later she handed me a mirror to show me my beautifully filled tooth! I thanked her profusely and went to pay the bill.  From the time I entered the office until I walked out the door, was 18 minutes. I am not exaggerating at all, I actually timed it!

The total bill for the painless fix on my tooth was 824 baht ($25.57 US), WITHOUT INSURANCE! Back in my hometown, my copayment for a cleaning was $40 US with insurance! Something seems wrong with that, but that is a topic for a person with far more knowledge in that area than I. Regardless, I know where I will be getting all my dental work from now on. Thailand, you rock, yet again!

Now it’s your turn to tell me… How do you feel about the dentist? Would you travel to a foreign country to get dental work done on the cheap?

Monday Montage: I Heart Phuket

One thing that I have fallen in love with here in Phuket, is the ease at which we have been able to make friends. After our time in Hua Hin and the difficulties in finding anyone to hang out with, it has been a real pleasure meeting people that I already consider real friends.
I have been quite busy taking Zoë to multiple play dates a week, enjoying birthday parties, and just hanging out with great people. We also have found a church that we like so far and I have been enjoying our fellowship with other people of faith!
Everything is going swimmingly and I am embracing the opportunity to do the “normal” things with my family before we leave on our next adventure… We will be in Tokyo in 2 weeks and then the U.S. after that! I am excited to be on our travel journey again, but I am extremely happy that we will be returning to Phuket. This place has my heart!
Where have you felt the most at “home”?

Here are my pictures for the week, that I admit, have absolutely nothing to do with what I wrote about. I have thought about doing thematic Monday Montages, but honestly I like the haphazard, “never-know-what-you’re-gonna-get” format. Thanks for reading, following, and sharing!

 

Apparently Taylor Swift has her own ice cream flavor. Is this world-wide, or just a Thailand thing?

Apparently Taylor Swift has her own ice cream flavor. Is this world-wide, or just a Thailand thing?

Up To You Travel and Agency. I wish I could go in here and decide what price I want to pay for airline tickets... hey, its up to me, right?

Up To You Travel and Agency. I wish I could go in here and decide what price I want to pay for airline tickets… hey, its up to me, right?

Old soi (street in Thai) dog. I thought he was a cutie.

Old soi (street in Thai) dog. I thought he was a cutie.

I took this while driving... so not the best shot, but I was amused that people could love in the "Rich Villa's" by the Rich Group. I guess they are really trying to sale a lifestyle, too. Haha.

I took this while driving… so not the best shot, but I was amused that people could live in “Rich Villa’s” by the Rich Group. I guess they are really trying to sell a lifestyle, not just a house. Haha.

A Beauty Buffet Store. I am not sure why a gentleman chef mascot would make me want to buy their make-up?! I wonder if this marketing theme works?

A Beauty Buffet Store. I am not sure why a gentleman chef mascot would make me want to buy their make-up?! I wonder if this marketing theme works?

View of townhouses from one of my new favorite restaurants. (More about that in Fridays post!)

A view from the restaurant that is my new favorite (more on that in my Friday post!)

 

More Testing Is Needed

I was going to write about another one of our favorite restaurants here in Phuket, but I may have gotten food poisoning from them last night.
Before I totally write them off, or write about them here, I feel it’s necessary to partake in some more gluttony research and make sure that is indeed what happened and I don’t have some sort of flu or something.
All of this to explain that my post today is short and sweet and about nothing at all, except my taking time off to feel better.
I will do my utmost to test out the restaurant in question and be absolutely sure before I choose to stop going there (yes, it is that good!). You all will be the first to know.
Happy Friday everyone! Xoxox