Friday, November 14, 2008

Loy Krathong

Well, it's day four of the world's worst haircut... and if you couldn't tell... I'm still not over it. =/ Seriously, every time I look in the mirror some part is sticking out funky and in places it's like it's trying to curl but can't get enough friends together to curl in the same direction.

Wednesday was Loy Krathong and also a teacher's birthday. She had a party in a Thai Buffet restaurant which was a new experience for me. They have a main dining area, but also LOTS of private rooms. Not in a skeevy way at all... it's because each room gets it's own karaoke machine. I guess it's nice because you can sing and only embarrass yourself in front of your friends... but I kind of like the community aspect of American karaoke bars. Anyway, there were two low tables in the room, so you sit on the floor. But oddly, the floor under the table was cut out, so you could stick your legs under the table anyway. It made me wonder why they didn't just have normal sized tables and benches. But whatever. On each table there are two hot pot & grill combos. You go through the buffet and pick out all the ingredients you want, then you put all the ingredients in the soup pot (fortunately there was a Thai couple sharing our hot-pot so I just let them do that part)... for the meats you put them on the grill.

It's kind of fun... but I maintain that if I want to cook, I'll stay home and cook. When I go out, I want someone else to do the cooking for me. But on the up-side, there was bacon... and I can't really complain about that. I didn't sing karaoke because it was all in Thai. Well, let me amend that... I didn't grab the microphone, but I attempted with all my heart to join in the choruses of a few of the songs, and no... I didn't know the words. And unfortunately I got up and started dancing with the birthday girl... and got caught on video doing so. =( I wasn't even drunk... just having a good time. Remind me not to dance while there are electronic recording devices around. =P

After the party we divided up and went to PMY beach for Loy Krathong. I have no idea what PMY stands for, but I'm pretty sure it's a beach I went to when I thought I was at a different beach. ;) Loy Krathong is a festival where the Thai people appologize to the river for polluting it... by floating little boats made out of flowers down the river. Unfortunately it is also the festival of low batteries... so no pictures of me.

Loy Krathong courtesy of Google Images. ;)

I bought a little krathong in the market and brought it with me to dinner. When Key saw it she was like "Ooooh, it's cute." and her boyfriend just kind of laughed. Apparently I'd gotten the world's dinkiest little krathong. I didn't know. Bunny & Bobby went with us, and they comforted me by telling me it wasn't the size of my krathong that mattered... In fact, we were totally just joking around and started calling it a krathong-ka-thonk (ka-donk-a-donk). Bunny apparently has a knack for languages, so I've been feeling a bit of pressure to work on my Thai, so the new kids don't outstrip me.

But her approach is completely different from mine. I wait until I need to know how to say something, or to understand what someone else has said, then I try to learn the phrase and practice it when appropriate. She has more of a shotgun approach, repeat every word she hears in every possible combination until something sticks. All night she kept asking "what's the word for this, what's the word for that" and practicing. Boy kept saying "You say all the words, but tomorrow you'll forget them all!" In the car on the way to the beach (we were stuck in traffic for quite a while) she just kept going and going. You know.... this is the whole introvert/extrovert dynamic. The constant stream of chatter can get annoying (and embarrassing), but on the other hand, when you need someone to go talk to the shop-keeper and all the introverts are too chicken to do it - it's nice to have an extrovert around. It's all about finding the balance.

Anyway, we finally got to the beach and everyone else bought their (bigger & prettier) krathongs. We lit the candles (and kept relighting them as the beach was a bit windy), then set them to float off on the ocean, little beacons of light and good luck. Yeah... or not. My little krathong-ka-thonk flipped over the minute I let go of it. It was pretty pitiful. The others managed to stay upright until the first wave came. Which is why you're supposed to float your krathongs in a river... not the ocean. BUT - what you do do at the beach is lauching khom fai (khom loy) - big lantern ballons.

Again - image from the interwebs... there weren't nearly this many khom fai at our beach, just one ever couple of minutes but you could watch them for a long time, just a slow beautiful stream of light floating through the sky.

Launching the khom loy was really fun, they're so big they take two people to hold them. You (or a helpful friend) lights a little paper/cardboard dealie at the bottom and you hold it while the hot air fills up the balloon. It's so pretty glowing against the darkness. Then you let go, and you hope that it goes up up and away. There were a couple scary moments with mine as the wind kinda knocked it about for a minute, but eventually they all float out over the ocean. It was just so beautiful watching a steady stream of lanterns float off into the sky. Oh and there were fireworks. You know.... any holiday that involves the beach & fireworks is a good one for me.

On the way home we talked about how beautiful it was, and everyone tried to make me feel better about my pitiful little krathong... "next year you can buy a big one" Key consoled me. Taking a cue from Bunny's linguistic enthusiasm, I decided to practice a little Thai myself, I told them "Noy loy krathong mai dai wai naam ta lai laaow." (Little flower boat couldn't swim in the ocean.) Key, Bo and I cracked up so hard. I couldn't stop laughing. I'm pretty sure I got the grammar wrong... but I think my meaning was clear.

TAG - Code Mango (with the exception of my hair of course, which is holding steady at Coconuts.)


Bezzie said...

Do you find it ironic that they're apologizing to the river for polluting it, by putting more stuff in it? I guess the krathongs are made of biodegradable leaves and flowers--but what about all those candles?

I love the fact you had the Charlie Brown krathong!

Rebel said...

The irony is not lost on me.

I totally did it anyway. ;)

Bridget B. said...

It is so cool that you got to participate - even if in a kind of Charlie Brown way. I managed to totally miss this festival while I was there, though I did get to see the big lanterns go up . . they are the most beautiful things!!