Visiting TCDO and celebrating Songkran!

Trip Start Dec 22, 2006
Trip End Jul 16, 2007

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Where I stayed
RunsnRoses Lodge

Flag of Thailand  ,
Friday, April 13, 2007

Hello people,

After a an easy hitchhike I arrived in Phato where a welcome committee of Dutch girls picked me up to go to the RunsnRoses Lodge. A beautiful shanti place situated in the green jungle near a river. The building(s) itself are built with natural materials, environmentally friendly. Photos follow later.

After months of few Dutch reminders I was pleasantly overwhelmed by the Dutch language, music and magazines. Always nice to get a a little feel of home away from home. These girls are all doing their intership at the foundation. Great to see their enthousiasm and devotion to sustainable tourism, the only right answer to tourism development in the future.

Roos, the founder of this lodge and the foundation TCDO (ThaiChildDevelopmentOrganisation), was not there at the time, we can meet in a few days. The next day I was invited to go the Mountain, where the foundation is based with its volunteers. That evening we are invited to go to a local school where closing-performance would take place. End of summer camp for the kids. Again I realised I have a very big weak spot for kids! How lovely to see them perform.

The day after it is the Songkran day. A special Thai holiday to celebrate New Year. They don't use fireworks but lots, lots and lots of WATER to celebrate! The photos will tell you all, but in short this is what happens: Put all valuables in plastic bags as you will get WET! People stand at the side of the road with huge water supply and any tool to throw water at people passing by. After they are completely soaked they are also decorated with white (or any other colour) powder on the face and send off with Sawadee Phi Mai (Happy New Year). In the morning we joined in with the locals in Ban Sok, great fun! Later that day we hitchhiked to Ranong in the back of an (open!!!!) pick-up. As Felang and all female we were very willing targets to all the locals along the road. And our driver was so kind to slow down or even stop at all of them so they could easily hit us. Need not to be said, we never had a change to get dry ;-)))))))

In Ranong we checked into a guesthouse and went outside again to join in again with a group of Thai. I have never seen so many people throw water. Cars passing by with lots of people in the back of the pick-up and a huge supply of (ice cold) throwing water, music and powder. CRAZY MADNESS, but so much fun! the ideal thing to do with Koninginnedag in Holland we figured. unfortunately this madness only lasts a day in the South. For the biggest Songkran celebration you have to be in Changmai where it lasts for 5 days.

I will stay in Phato for a few days more I think, helping out at the Mountain with the volunteers. Then most likely move towards Bangkok. But plans can always change of course, so will keep you updated!

All Dutchies and Thais thank you for a great Songkran!
Big Hug from a(nother) Dutchie!

p.s. The world is so big and small at the same time. In Ranong I ran into 2 people I met before on my travels!!! Happy Thai New Year to everyone!
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