It started a few days ago. I can't blame the kids really, I'm sure the waiting was killing them.
Before leaving Pai, I was having a tough time deciding between the expensive minivan and the government bus.
(Chris's law of luxury: Get the cheapest option possible... whenever you pay more for comfort, you will invariably be disapointed in the quality you receive. Stick with the crappy level, and you'll know ahead of time that you're paying for the bare minimum).
Anyway. I opted to go for the A/C, and took the Minivan. Oh was I glad. You see, about 6 times during the journey, we were ambushed by bucket-wielding children on the side of the road.. Had I opted for the government bus, their icky-and cold water would have passed through the open bus-windows and covered me... Saved by crappy A/C.
Over the past few days, I've seen a few kids with squirt guns in the streets, but thats been it.. However, today, it kicked into full gear.
Which made it a pretty bad day to move my bags from my ghetto-guest-house to my Insurance Provided A/C+TV+Hot Water Playboy Mansion. I offered my tuk-tuk driver an extra 10-baht if he could get me from point A to B without getting wet. He failed to earn his bonus.
In any case - I made it to my fab hotel - put my passports and major money in the hotel safe, changed into a pair of swimming trunks, wrapped my foot in 3 plastic bags (which later proved very successful at stopping the water from flowing away from my foot), and went outside to fight.
You see - I'd been told before by many people that Chiang Mai was THE city to be in Thailand for the New Year. No one could quite explain why though.
Now I know. Chiang Mai has an old city in the center (where the tourists are), that is surrounded by a moat. Which means, when you want to have a huge public water fight - there is a ready supply of water nearby. Dirty, icky water. In addition, the roads run directly past the moat, making it a perfect area to stand and ambush passing cars.
I decided against purchasing one of the many super-soaker clones they were selling, and opted for the much better (and cheaper) 10 baht plastic bucket + string. With this, I could hurl absolutely huge amounts of water at passing motorcyclists, rickshaw passengers, and anyone stupid enough to leave their car windows open.
And so, for 3-4 hours today, I stood at the side of the road near the Tai Pai gate - with about 5-10 other Thai kids, and pelted people as they drove by. Any passing farang (foreigners) got special treatment....
Quite a few pickup trucks passed us by, filled with kids, large plastic barrels/oil drums filled with water (and in some evil cases, ice-water). These toured the circuit, and essentially engaged in drive-by warfare with anyone standing by the moat.
The advantage that we had was of an endless supply of dirty moat water. The advantage they had was of ice-cold water, and the ability to drive away....
All in all, great fun. My foot got soaked, but that couldn't be helped.
And the best part is.. the new year hasn't even started yet. The 3 day waterfight/public drunken party starts tomorrow.