Happy Thai New Year – BE (Buddhist Era) 2559
I’m writing this on 16th April and we are barely half way through the long Songkran holiday. Songkran – the time of year when entire Thai population goes berserk and chucks water at each other for two weeks.
In previous years, I have written much on the ‘abuses’ of the traditional Songkran water festival in modern times – which has turned the one-day tradition of sprinkling scented water onto families and friends into a non-stop, two-week drunken water fight.
This has happened partly in the pursuit of money – and partly because the festival has been hi-jacked by thousands of drunken yobs – including a fair number of westerners – so I won’t bore you by writing at length about it this year.
As ever, Thailand’s road atrocious accident statistics, second only to Libya in the table of the world’s worst, always spikes upwards during Thai New Year. 2016 is no exception, and after the first four days of the festival, no less than 259 people have died, and there have been 2378 injured. Yesterday alone, 78 people were killed and there were 556 accidents reported.
As I rarely venture out, all the wild, wet and dangerous mayhem has so far passed me by. Last Wednesday, Lek and the kids took off with some family friends who live in Pattaya for a day out. They went to “Dreamworld,” a massive amusement and water park in Pathum Thani, just north of Bangkok.
I was originally supposed to go with them, but excused myself at the last minute as I had to work. I couldn’t imagine anything worse than spending 10 hours in 40 degrees sunshine, having iced water chucked at me and watching the kids play on dangerous rides – which I would never dare to go on – even if I trusted them, which I don’t. I don’t trust anything like that in Thailand. Anyway, they had a great day and came back exhausted, and were much better off without this old fogey complaining about the heat and having nowhere to sit down.
Red Ant eggs for breakfast- Anyone?
Yes, folks, I’m not kidding. For the past few weeks, every time we have gone for evening walk across the meadows with our dogs and kids, Lek has taken off for a little diversion in the wooded areas in search of red ant nests.
“Why on earth do you want to find red ant nests?”
“I want to eat them.”
“No, their eggs – they’re very tasty.”
I didn’t think much more about it until a couple of days ago, she took off on the motorbike with both kids to hunt out nests. She was back an hour later with the news that she had located a source. That evening she busied herself making an ant egg retrieval tool, fashioned out of an empty rice sack, with a hoop inserted at the open end, and the whole thing attached to a very long pole.
This morning, she and the kids took off at six am to collect her red ant eggs. Three hours later, they triumphantly returned with a small bag full. They were all delighted with their haul.
“They’re really expensive to buy,” she told me, “about 500 baht a kilo.” (10 quid) I should think so too – it has taken the three of them about 6 hours to collect about half a kilo, and that’s not counting the time to make the retrieval tool.
As I was taking photos of the eggs, I noticed that there were still a lot of red ants crawling around.
“What about the ants?”
“We eat them as well.”
Any of you who have been to Thailand will probably know that red ant stings are very painful, and pain take ages to go away. I guess if you swallow them before they get their stings out you’re okay.
But none of this particularly surprises me – after all cockroaches, termites, and all manner of other insects are part of the Thai’s wide and varied diet – rich in protein so I understand…
It’s a dog’s life
Rarely a week goes by when we don’t have some kind of a crisis with one or other of our 4 mutts. Last week, it was our Shih Tzu, Yogurt who had a badly scratched eye. It was damaged during a no-holds barred ‘fight’ with Sunny Boy the bulldog. They were only playing…Happily, it is now on the mend.
Now it is Micky, the Labrador, who is in bad shape. Micky’s skin problems have been building up for quite a while and we have taken him to the vet many times to see what can be done about it.
Medication was prescribed which seemed to help for a while, only for the problem to return later with a vengeance. The poor thing has been continually itching and scratching his body and he has bitten off lumps of hair. In other parts of his body, the hair has fallen out or thinned by itself.
So a few days ago the vet shaved all his fur off and we can now see the damage.
I’m pretty certain that Micky has atopic dermatitis – a common problem with many dogs. It’s an allergy and there’s no cure, but it can be treated. He is taking a load of meds, and we dose him with coconut oil internally and externally as it is supposed to be very good for his health and skin. I think he has improved a little. Please give him your positive vibes – I’m sure it will help.