,because that would be easier than trying to describe walking around the Mekong waterfront during Loi Krathong. You can my pictures on http://www.flickr.com/photos/8721339@N08/sets/72157631915558749/ but my night photography skills suck. I think this a combination of equipment and talent that is holding me back, but none of the shots I took at night turned out as anything other than blobs. Oh well.

On the night of the 30th, the Lao people sent out the Krathongs onto the Mekong. It is about the size and shape of a small cake woven out of banana leaves and decorated with flowers, candles and incense sticks. A small offering of cash is placed in it, the candles etc. are lit and you push it out into the river. There is also those mini hot air balloon things called Khom Loi which light up like a lantern and then take off into the sky from the hot air rising. Being a cashed up falang, I chose the sky lantern.

Not as many people do the lantern as the krathongs so I had a little crowd watching me as I sent my prayer up to Buddha. The story is that the higher it travels, the more likely it is to come true. Mine went pretty high, but not as high as others I saw.  One does not reveal the prayer to others, like a birthday wish, so you will have to guess how well it went.

The next day was boat racing and I think 80% of the population were packed onto the banks of the mighty Mekong. It was hot and so plenty of umbrellas were in use and I am just that bit taller than everyone else, such that I got bonked in the head by unwitting shade carriers every 2 minutes. I went down with my friend Tien and we found a spot with about a furlong to go where we could both see. I'm 180cm and Tien is about 145cm so finding a spot that suited both of us took a bit of finding. The inside lane, which is furthest from the bank, looked a little shorter than even the curve would indicate and so that lane dominated the day. The boats are huge with crews of between 45 and 50 and they look at least 40m long. I loved the dexterity shown by the steering guys on the back as the pushed hard while balancing on a platform about 30cm wide. It was an exciting afternoon and I am really glad I was hear to see it.

The 31st was also Halloween and Clarrisa at KongKhao was hosting a party. I improvised up a bit of makeup and hair to make a decent fist of zombie Bruce. One DJ was fun and the other was terrible. I will not reveal which was which.

I'm a bit partied out now, so I guess being unexpectedly required to go to site to deal with an issue is something of a blessing. Although sleeping in is just not possible here. I've got a pretty strong idea for a One Act Play, so I might see what I can knock out for that while I'm here.

AuthorBruce Hardie