If you had asked me last night if it was possible for my time at Thingyan to get any wilder, my answer would have been so very far from the truth. Today I set out with a renewed determination to get stuck in with the festivities. From a photographic perspective I decided to just take the one camera and ultra wide angle as my other camera still had a little condensation in the top LCD.
After walking around for a short while, I decided to head for the main action today and try and get some intimate shots of people in the pick-up trucks and of the hundreds of people dancing on the street. Looking back, with a second camera now suffering from water damage, it was most probably not the best idea however my day would have been so much different if I had played it safe.
The Burmese people definitely love to see you get involved. I noticed that everybody wanted to shake my hand and wish me “Happy New Year!!” when I started to get in amongst the queues of cars.
The amount of water that is used during the Thingyan festival is incredible, some parts of the streets were mid-shin deep in water from the thousands of buckets, hoses etc all launching water constantly.The picture above was taken by one of the busier water stands in Yangon. These platforms line the streets all over the city and constantly have huge queues of waiting pick-ups
Whilst I was busy getting in on the action I started speaking to the driver of one of the hundreds of pickups. He offered for me to sit alongside him in the car to see the festival. Hesitantly I climbed into the pickup, thinking we would just drive round again and then I would get out. Well we drove around for a short while and then we began driving out of Yangon. A little confused/worried about where we were going, I asked him if we were going back to Yangon and he repeatedly said yes. Little did I know we wouldn’t return to Yangon for 7 hours!
Sometimes you just have to go with the flow, I can’t believe the day we ended up having. The majority of the day was driving to every single water platform in the surrounding area and getting incredibly wet from hoses, buckets and even pressure washers (hence very wet camera and pressure cut to my palm). We even stopped off for lunch where I was bought Thai chicken fried rice, I offered money but they wouldn’t accept.
We even got stopped by a man in a small town, who dragged me to his table and served me lunch too. Considering nobody on the truck or the area could speak much English, I think he said it was a gift for me for New Year. For the whole day I didn’t see an other white person so this probably explains why I got such a kind response from everyone throughout the day.
The driver of the pickup even suggested I stay in Myanmar for a long time as “handsome white men, ladies want marry”. This was possibly also the reason why I was asked if I found the daughters in the back of the truck beautiful about 200 times.
By the end of the day, after copious amounts of alcohol had been drunk, I think every single person in the truck was completely wasted. Luckily I had politely declined the majority of the drink offers as I had no idea where I was or how to get back to my guesthouse. I don’t know what it is about beer in Myanmar but the various cans I saw today ranged from 7.9-8.8% alc just for normal lager!!
I even managed to sample some culinary delights of Myanmar and try beetle for the first time ever. If you had traveled in South East Asia you have probably seen many people with red teeth from chewing beetle. I don’t know what it is exactly but it doesn’t taste very nice and it fills your mouth with orangey-red saliva for ages. Also on offer was some tiny boiled eggs which were very nice, chilli-ed pineapple and other fruit which was also nice and deep fried chicken feet which I politely declined.