Not sure what is worth mentioning first in my post today, the fact that after about a month of searching, I finally found myself a pair of sunglasses similar to what all the elderly Indian people wear around Kolkata, or if I should first touch on the experiences I had with the Holi festival today, which is the Indian festival of colors. Since the sunglasses discovery is something I’m pretty sure I take much more interest in than anyone else would and my appreciation for them would be as difficult to explain to all of you as it would be my interest to work at Howard’s Pizza at some point in my lifetime, I’ll start with the Holi festival.
The Holi festival is an annual Hindu celebration that is somewhat of a welcoming party for the Spring season where Indians cover themselves from head to toe in colored dye. Since the Sisters from the Missionaries of Charity and many other people in the last day advised us to stay off the streets during this festival and I also found out the dye that gets thrown on you may not wash off your skin for up to 2 weeks, I decided to hide out as much as possible at the Salvation Army and not participate. Party pooper...I know. With respect to not getting dye all over me, I was successful, but my hiding out didn’t prevent me from finding myself in a circle of 11 dyed out Indians singing Indian folk songs in Hindi and banging on metal plates as drums. Everything was fine with this experience for awhile and I even showed my support with a couple foot taps on the floor and finger clinks against my glass, but when it came to the Indians asking me to sing them a song, that is when the experience for me became as awkward as when you go into shake someone’s hand and you realize the other person is going in for a fist bump. Needless to say, the Indians didn’t get a song out of me, but being the hospitable hosts that they were, it wasn’t a big deal and it didn’t take long for all of them to distract themselves with another folk song.
In continuation of my Thailand trip, our next stop after Krabi was Chiang Mai, which is a city in the northernmost part of the country. Chiang Mai, is an area in complete contrast to the other tropical/beach towns we visited so far on the trip and it was a nice change in scenery. Of all the places we visited on our trip to Thailand, I can say without hesitation that Chiang Mai was my favorite destination. Although Chiang Mai didn’t have the tropical landscape of the areas we ventured out to earlier, it did have more of a “Montana” feel to it as it had mountains in its backyard, the Phing River on its doorstep, and a simpleness of life as its decor. If you ever go to Thailand, I highly recommend Chiang Mai. Since we had a couple noteworthy experiences in Chiang Mai, I'll save those for my next post.