Thursday, 6 December 2007

The King's Birthday

Ooohh what a great day we had. It really felt like a 'once in a lifetime' event thingy (you know what I mean).

We were up and out early to get the skytrain over to Saphan Taksin then we got the river taxi to Tha Chang pier. The walk along to the square opposite the Grand Palace was just phenomenal - every street was filled with people all wearing yellow and waving both the King's flag and the Thai was a bit like walking along in a human river of yellow. Everyone was really excited and there was a real buzz in the air (even Chris and I were excited!!). We followed the crowd (Who's a sheep? 'baaa') and ended up befriending a wee wizened Thai woman who led us through the crowds to an area that the King would definately be passing through. It was lovely - I think most of the Thai's were amused and bemused to see a Farang couple out to honour the King (we saw a few white faces but not many) and I think Moon was chuffed to bits to be with us - she kept telling me that the people round us were saying that we were very good to come.

There was music and dancing, much flag waving, and we were taught the phrase 'Long live the King' in Thai (I have no idea what it is now or even if I said it right at the time but the lady next to me was nodding frantically so I must have managed some approximation of it). We let a couple of kids get in front of us so that they could see and made space for an elderly woman to have a seat - we were standing for quite a long time. It was worth it though - we did managed to get a glimpse of THE MAN HIMSELF (which Moon was ridiculously excited about) but he didn't actually get out his car so it really was just a glimpse as his car passed.

We then spent some time mooching around the square and I have to say that the Thai's don't do things by half's where the King is concerned. There was free food (They are making Pad Thai in the photo), free drinks, craft stalls, singing and dancing, music being played, exhibitions of Thai design, flower displays and even chanting which was going to be done for 40 hours (I'm assuming that there was going to be some kind of relay system cause that's a lot of chanting!!). We had an absolutely fantastic time (and caught people surreptitiously taking our photo's when they thought we weren't looking) and after looking round the stalls and stuff we headed over to a local temple to get out the heat. There was a TV in the temple and we sat with the people that were there (and the Nun's) watching the King's speech (Moon was translating) and, when we were leaving, one of the women we were sitting with gave us charms for good luck which I thought was lovely of her (that's her in the photo).

The celebrations didn't stop there - when we headed out for dinner later that evening nearly every stall on Sukhumvit had lit candles for the King (I have never seen Sukhumvit road look so pretty) and crowds had gathered in every available space, huddled round radio's and tv's, to listen to the repeat of his speech whilst clutching their candles. It really was an amazing thing to be a part of.

just had to add that .....we saw a Monk on a Mobile :-0


Lane said...

Gosh that looks fantastic.

Love the 'mobile' monk:-)

Jen said...

Hmmm... 'monk on a mobile dot com'. Cool.

Love the colourful photos, it all looks so vibrant and exciting. I'd burst from the sheer exuberance of it all if I were there :0)

Carol and Chris said...

Lane - I wonder if that was a direct line to Buddha!!

Jen - like the idea of!! It was a brilliant day and it really did feel quite monumental!!

C x

Mel said...

Haha you're so cute in yellow!! That looks's very special to be surrounded by so much love (for the King) isn't it?! Father's day always spins me out in Thailand because they get so into it. Love your photos. Oooh have you seen monks smoking? That's a bit freaky and very common unfortunately!

Anonymous said...

What a lovely experience. I'm so glad you did catch a glimpse of the King, it must have been really exciting (especially for Moon)! Was he in an open car?

The Monkonamobile was perhaps 'the Abbot's on his way, start chanting now'.com

Mum :-)) xx

Carol and Chris said...

Mel - Hmmmm.....I'm not convinced yellow is the best colour for me.....not convinced at all!!!

I do know what you mean about the whole fathers day thing - it did kind of blow my mind!!

Not seen monk's smoking yet - but never say never eh!! :-)

Mum - No he wasn't. It was just a normal one and he was sitting back in his seat so I think we were very lucky to even get a glimpse!!

Hadn't thought about the chanting angle....

C x