A Spring Cleaning

Two weeks ago I found myself running for my life. The day before, my friends and I had turned up in Sangkhlaburi, a sleepy little town near the Burmese border at the northern end of the Khao Laem Reservoir. Only we were arriving during the one time that the entire country of Thailand happens to be wide awake: the Thai New Year. Better known as Songkran, this famously boisterous holiday can trace many of its traditions back to the fourteenth century and the kingdom of Ramathibodi in Ayutthaya.

Flash forward to the present however, and I'm sprinting from a pack of heavily armed, Hawaiian shirt-wearing assailants in a futile attempt to stay dry. Because while Thais do observe the holiday in a variety of ways, the celebration today is defined by a prolonged, nationwide water fight. And I hadn't brought anything to defend myself with. Far from menacing, the kids in town nonetheless knew how to use their squirt guns and water buckets, and took great pleasure in drenching a conspicuous group of farang. View more pictures from the Songkran Festival in my Kanchanaburi photo set.

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