WARNING:

DO NOT SCROLL DOWN TO SEE HOW LONG THIS POST IS. IT’S KINDA LONG, I’M NOT GONNA LIE, BUT I SWEAR IT’S (PROBABLY) TOTALLY WORTH IT, AND IF YOU SCROLL DOWN, YOU’LL RUIN EVERYTHING AND HAVE BAD KARMA FOREVER (I’M GUESSING) (WHY RISK IT) (PLEASE JUST DO WHAT I ASK) (THANKS).


OKAY HERE WE GO.

There was a big massive 3-day festival thing in Thailand this past weekend called Loi Krathong (that’s pronounced loy kruh-‘tong, for those of you* who care).

*nerds

It’s this huh-yoooooge deal, so of course I didn’t know about it until like Friday morning because I don’t pay attention to things or really ever know what’s going on around me.

Luckily I have friends who bring me along to stuff, so Friday night, I basically oops’d into the middle of the verymost Instagramable event on the planet, thank you Neil / Lauren / Jason / Kristian.

Here is a picture of Loi Krathong taken by someone much more talented than me at camera stuff:

If you’re thinking “Wow, that’s so beautiful and peaceful-looking!” allow me to burst your bubble: there is almost nothing peaceful about this experience.

I WILL SAY, IT WAS SUPER FUN AND I HAD THE BEST TIME.

But peaceful, it wernt.

First, people come from all over the world to Chiang Mai to see this thing. So, so many people. An obnoxious number of people. The volume of people that makes you think “pretty good likelihood I’m gonna get trampled tonight.”

…which would be cool if it were mainly Thai people, cuz they’re tiny, and sometimes I pay them to step on me.

But most of the crowd was white people, and we’re just way fatter than Thais,* so a trampling isn’t really ideal in this particular setup.

*truth hurts, sorry white people

Second, the Chiang Mai police apparently didn’t realize all these people would show up either (even though it’s happened every year for like centuries), and therefore they didn’t block off the streets to cars. So add a millionbillion tuk-tuks and tour busses to the millionbillion people, and then throw in a millionbillion street vendors and a trilliongazillion piles of trash, and that’s the baseline experience for Loi Krathong.

From there, add some fire.

And paper.

Lots of fire and lots of paper.

Now put the paper and the fire together, and hold it right near your head. Stand around it and breathe in all the smoke while a millionbillion people bump into you.

Eventually, when your paper thing gets floaty, let go and watch it ascend into the night sky like a magical glowing fart.

Alternatively, you can let it go too soon, and watch it careen into the group of Chinese people. Or a tree. Or the ground. Any of these is fine.

They say you’re supposed to make a wish as you let your lantern go. I couldn’t think of a good one* so I wished for non-flammable hair and sent mine into the floating-fart-fest above.

*Neil says this is because I’m really happy, which in itself made me happy, but then I immediately thought, “What the fuck does Neil know?” and I punched him in the gut.

Or I hugged him.

I’ll let you choose my adventure on that one.

Although it won’t change the rest of the story, so doesn’t really matter either way.

That’s Part One of Loi Krathong.

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Loi Krathong: Part Two

After you let your lantern go, you’re supposed to buy a fancy little boat made out of banana leaves:

And you light that on fire too, and then throw it in the Ping River with all the trash.

The boat I bought was a barbie one, in honor of my niece, which I have to say was VERY sweet of me, but then Kristian lit her hair on fire because he’s a murderer of innocence and dreams.

I was about to give it to That Guy Who Stands In The River And Takes Your Money To Put Your Boat In The Water So You Don’t Accidentally Fall In And Get Eaten By River Snakes Or Other Scary Things…

…but then Neil started giving me shit about plastic choking the river fish or something, so I took out the doll part, which meant I only had a dress made out of ice cream cones to offer the Riverbuddha.*

*I did a quick google search just now and apparently that’s the purpose of this – offering stuff to the Riverbuddha. Or something like that, I forgot already.

Of course a doll-sized dress made out ice cream cones is probably the worst offering you can give to a Riverbuddha, because there’s no way that thing’s gonna fit over his big belly, and even if it did, wearing a poofy dress in the water just isn’t safe.

Or say the Riverbuddha decides to eat the ice cream cone dress instead of wearing it, which is totally a possibility, I think…  He’s pretty quickly gonna realize that ice cream cones without any ice cream in them are fucking nasty, and he’ll be like HEY KELLY, WHERE’S THE ICE CREAM, HUH? And then I’ll be like GREAT JOB NEIL, THE RIVERBUDDHA HATES ME NOW, YOU HAPPY?

OOOOR (final scenario – just play this out with me) – the Riverbuddha digs the dress, as a dress, and magically – because he’s magical – fits it over his belly, and maybe he’s great at swimming (because he’s a Riverbuddha, not a Landbuddha or a Skybuddha or like a Horsebackbuddha if that’s a thing, you get what I’m saying)…

So he’s swimming around all fancylike in the river with his new dress on, probably doing twirls and swoops and stuff, and all the fish are way impressed and crowding around to watch and singing little fish songs to accompany his twirls and swoops and all that business, basically like The Little Mermaid, but sort of the opposite because he’s Big and Not A Mermaid…

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(okay I need you to scroll down now)

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(sorry for making you do this, I just made something and I don’t want you to see it prematurely)

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(because I’m really proud of it)

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(you’ll understand when you see it)

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(see?)

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(You can click here to view a bigger version if you want. Maybe save it* and use it as the background on your desktop? You have my permission to do whatever you want with it, I’m sure Disney won’t mind.)

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*Dad: Click on the picture, then right click, then select “Save As” – you can call me if you need help from there.

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(I’ll give you a minute to recover from that brilliance)

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(did you know I’m a graphic designer?)

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(I actually am, that’s not a lie)

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(that’s how I know how to make cool stuff like that)

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(anyways)

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So he’s dancing around, right? But then all the sudden the ice cream cone dress gets all soggy and melts, because that’s what happens to ice cream cones when you submerge them in water, AND THEN THE RIVERBUDDHA IS DANCING AROUND COMPLETELY NAKED WITHOUT ANY BOTTOMS ON AND ALL THE RIVER ANIMALS ARE EXPOSED TO THE RIVERBUDDHA’S MANJUNK, WHICH IS A THING I NEVER THOUGHT ABOUT UNTIL THIS VERY MOMENT, GOD, NEIL, YOU’RE THE WORST.

Anyways, I eventually gave up and threw my boat in the water, and then we all went and got drinks and dessert and Lauren and Jason (more on Lauren and Jason here) consoled me about how I’m probably going to come back as a dung beetle in my next life because of stupid Neil.

And then I forgave him because I remembered he’s the one who invites me to stuff and I would’ve missed all the fun if it weren’t for him.

Also he helped this snail cross the street on the walk back to our bikes, and I filmed it, which I think probably redeems us both in terms of karma and next lives or whatever.

THE END.

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I feel like there should be a moral to this story or something since it was so long, but I couldn’t think of a good one so I just jotted down some ideas and you can pick whatever works best for you at this point in your life:

  • All non-Thai people should stay away from Thailand during Loi Krathong
  • Except everyone should go because it’s so fun
  • And terrifying
  • So wear a protective helmet and maybe skip the hairspray, just for that one night
  • And definitely make sure you have ice cream for the Riverbuddha because he’s really demanding (but also delightful and a great swimmer)
  • And always have a friend like Neil
  • But be prepared that you will probably come back as a dung beetle in your next life because of him
  • Unless you help a snail across the street
  • Or unless you film someone helping a snail across the street

Note: I’m happy to facilitate a conversation about what you all got out of this post in the comments section below.

A thousand puppies will live forever if you share this post, I totally swear.

A thousand puppies will live forever if you share this post, I totally swear.

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I don't even know why this is a question.

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