A water gun for Songkran. Chiang Mai, Thailand

Preparing for Songkran

I’m sitting in a pink towel (actually, it’s puce; yes, definitely puce) listening to the whoops and cheers as our neighbours soak each other and passing scooters with water. On the bed are laid out various items of clothing. What does one choose from our limited wardrobe for charging about town like a maniac squirting people in the face?

Yellow Hezbollah T-shirt

Advantages: A souvenir from Beirut, this t-shirt is not too smart and with a recent cigar burn hole I’m not too bothered if it gets wet and dirty.

Disadvantages: It stinks. Every Israeli with a water gun for ten miles will converge on me.

Clothing for Songkran. Chiang Mai, Thailand

Che Guevara T-shirt

Advantages: Fished out of the laundry bag I can cope if it gets wet and dirty. Kurds love it.

Disadvantages: It stinks. Every anti-communist with a water gun for ten miles will converge on me.

Clothing for Songkran. Chiang Mai, Thailand

Plain Blue T-shirt

Advantages: Won’t offend anybody, except…

Disadvantages: It stinks (we really do need to do some laundry).

Choosing clothing for Songkran, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Shirt

Advantages: Doesn’t stink and once those creases are shaken out it is reasonably smart.

Disadvantages: It is the last clean item of clothing in my bag. It’s green and if worn with the green trousers I’ll look a military wannabe.

Choosing clothing for Songkran, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Trousers

Advantages: Loose and comfortable. Plenty of pockets.

Disadvantages: The only pair of clean trousers I have left. They will need to be worn in the evening and are going to have to last until laundries reopen after Songkran.

Choosing clothing for Songkran, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Shorts

Advantages: Are even looser and more comfortable than the trousers. Plenty of pockets. One of the few items of clothing I own that doesn’t have a hole in it.

Disadvantages: Currently clean.

Choosing clothing for Songkran, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Old and Torn Shorts

Advantages: Numerous rips and tears have relegated these zip off trousers to something worn around the room – the backpacking equivalent of trackie bottoms – until ready to jump in the shower and get ready to go out. Who cares how messed up they get.

Disadvantages: They stink and are more hole than trouser. My penis frequently falls out if not worn with underpants and half a bum cheek is permanently exposed. These are going in the bin.

Choosing clothing for Songkran, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Swimming Shorts

Advantages: Made to get wet.

Disadvantages: The sea is miles away. Inadequate pockets.

Choosing clothing for Songkran, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Boots

Advantages: Tough and can cope with miles and miles of running around town.

Disadvantages: Look silly if I go with the shorts and sillier if I wear the swimmers.

Choosing clothing for Songkran, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Trainers

Advantages: Comfortable. No need to wear socks.

Disadvantages: I don’t like wearing trainers.

Choosing clothing for Songkran, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Sandals

Advantages: Made from recycled tyres I’ve had these for ten years. They are tough and waterproof.

Disadvantages: I only have one. The shoe repairman I entrusted the other to went away on his holidays for two weeks and hasn’t come back. The bastard – and subject of a 15 minute rant recently – was supposed to be back on the 11th but it is looking likely he won’t be back until after Songkran.

Choosing clothing for Songkran, Chiang Mai, Thailand

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