An open-bed truck does a drive-by shooting during the first day of Songkran festival which marks the beginning of the Thai new year.
It's strange, really. Three days out of the year, it's perfectly acceptable in Thai society to load up a high-powered, pump-action water gun and assault complete strangers by shooting them directly in the eyes, ears or nose. Bonus shock points are given if the liquid inside the gun comes from a bucket of freezing ice water.
So it begins. Songkran is, arguably, the greatest festival I've ever been a part of. The entire city of Bangkok is either wielding a water gun or ready to be a victim of the endless wetness that surrounds them. The greatest thing about the festival has to do with the temperament of Thai people. 10 out of 10 people react to a watery assault with a sense of humor and a smile. And typical of characteristic Thai respect, parents carrying infants and those that wave and flash an "I don't wanna get wet" expression are invariably spared. But it's the moment you see the first of many middle-aged Thai women propped on the back of a pickup truck firing volleys of ice water... that's when you come to realize this festival brings out the best (and the kid) in everyone.
My first day was spent hastily snapping a few pictures, then I promptly bought a 5-liter backpack-reservoir water gun. The main target of my attacks were buses in which passengers were foolish enough to leave their windows wide open. I have to admit, during the first day of Songkran, I realized I hadn't had this much fun nor laughed so hard in a very long time. My entire body and face ached from running, ducking, laughing, smiling or carrying my 5-liter load. Despite the pain, I enjoyed every second of it even to the point where I hadn't realized how tired I was. I returned home at 9pm and promptly passed out in my bed. The water fight, however, continued well into the night.
A pickup truck slows down to engage roadside water warriors during Songkran 2011.
It's officially the year 2554 by the Thai calendar (based on the birth of Buddha) but nobody seemed to notice in the confusion of all the water fights on Thai new year's day.
A pickup truck full of water fighters battles a group of young sidewalk combatants during Songkran.
There's not a sad face nor a dry shirt in the bunch.