Anyways, I digress. So, arm twisted I hopped on the back of D.J.'s scooter and we tore off down to the centre of all the action down near Tha Pae Gate. Parades, fireworks and crowds of people. None of these would usually appeal to me but things are different here, the people actually have manners. No elbowing, pushing, feet being trampled by obnoxious bimbos wearing high heels. They do it right here, orderly, well mannered and gracious. For the first time ever I actually enjoyed going to parade.
The best thing of all is the launching all night of thousands of paper lanterns fuelled by candles, something we would never be able able to do in the west. Fire hazards? Of course they are, there's a reason there are teams of guys armed with 20 foot poles running around whacking the damn things out of trees and power lines. It's up in the air whether the power failure at my apartment last night should be attributed to a lantern gone astray or errant fireworks but it's 6 of one, half dozen of another at this point because the lanterns are pretty cool.
Anyways, I'm almost halfway done my trip. I know, right? While I feel like I've overstayed my time in Chiang Mai a bit, my week at elephant camp is only 5 days away. When I was at the camp office today I heard there are 10 other volunteers this round so I have 10 new people to contend and get along with in addition to the rustic setting north of Chiang Mai complete with bamboo huts, mosquito netting, squat toilets and rainwater showers. You know I'll have plenty to say about all of it when I return.