The first stop of the caravan was of particular interest. We traveled 30km to a rose plantation to pick up some friends and picnic. The fields were exceptionally beautiful even though the roses had not all bloomed. A network of dirt roads navigated through the vast area to small pockets of thatched and corrugated steel shanties. 500 Burmese migrant workers were distributed through the plantation living permanently. They rose at 6:30 to begin picking as to squeeze in a half day of work before festivities, grossing $1 instead of their typical $2 for a day's work. One Karen worker had a university degree from Rangoon and spoke good English, so we talked about life in the fields. He was proud of a small side garden that the landlord allowed where he grew some vegetables to eat and sell at market to bolster his income. The biggest problem facing the 500 workers, he told me, was total lack of education for their children. An NGO is attempting to start a school, but first must make terms with the landlords.
Here is a quick run-down of my Water Festival Experience:
- Day 1: Exciting, new, fun!
- Day 2: Still digging it, more people throwing water than Day 1.
- Day 3: Little tired of getting wet, the Thai boxing was great though.
- Day 4: Totally over spending all day wet, ended the day worn out and with a headache.
- Day 5: Unwilling to have water thrown at me, placed myself under house arrest until sunset. Some foreigners plan vacations away from Thailand at this time of year, I don't blame them.
During Water Festival in Thailand alone:
3955 traffic accidents
of course these are only the documented incidents, 2008