Happy First Day of the Twenties!

Just a quick post to start the New Year (and the New Decade) off in good form… I had a relatively quiet New Year’s Eve, spending it at home finishing up some bookkeeping and other end-end-of-year tasks. I did venture outside at midnight and watched the fireworks erupt over Phuket Town. It seems like almost everybody I know was out-and-about as I saw their Facebook … Continue reading Happy First Day of the Twenties!

New Year #2: Chinese New Year & Phuket Old Town Festival 2014

SAM_1716In late January and early February, those of us in Phuket look forward to the year’s second big New Year’s blow-out.  There is a huge Chinese population centered on Phuket Town.  Many of the older families began during the tin-mining boom starting in the mid-nineteenth century and their clan shrines still dot the small lanes of the community.  The Old Town Phuket Festival, celebrating the area’s rich history and unique culture, is usually held a few days following the start of Chinese New Year.  It is my favorite of the local festivals, even more so than September/October’s Vegetarian Festival.

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New Year #1: Phuket Countdown 2014

SAM_1542One of the best things about living in Thailand are the myriad of festivals and other celebrations throughout the year.  We actually have three different annual New Year’s – the Western New Year on 31 December, Chinese New Year in late January or early February, and Songkran (Thai New Year) centered on 13 April. 

Now that I live in Phuket Town, I usually celebrate Western New Year by walking over to Sanam Chai.  This is a park in the northeast portion of Phuket’s administrative district, across the street from Provincial Hall to the east and City Hall to the north.  Each year, Phuket’s Provincial Administration Organization (PPAO, known in Thai as OrBorJor) sponsors a three-day celebration in the park called Phuket Colorful Countdown and it just keeps getting bigger and better.

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VegFest 2013: The Grand Finale

SAM_0239The 2013 Phuket Vegetarian Festival ended with a bang (many, many, many bangs) this past Sunday night.  Well, I should say, it lasted until the wee hours of Monday morning.  I’d met up with friends Jade and Lily, plus their Thai boyfriends, around 7pm at Surin Circle.  It was their first time to experience the madness of the finale when all of the Chinese shrines have processions in order to send the Emperor Gods back to heaven.  Basically, it’s hours and hours of spectators throwing fireworks at each other and any passing traffic before the actual mahsong ever appear.  And when they do, all hell breaks loose and you feel like you’re pinned down during a Syrian battle and spend most of your time dodging “in-coming” while attempting to take non-blurry photos.  My friends left after the first real onslaught (around 11:30) but the best was yet to come…

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VegFest 2013: Sam Kong Procession

SAM_9495It is now Day 5 of the Phuket Vegetarian Festival and again the rain has been pouring down much of the day.  I have eaten nothing but “Jae” food since the festival began Friday evening (well, I suppose cookies qualify…) and finally attended my first street procession of the year this morning.  It was Sam Kong Shrine’s turn today and I figured the best vantage point would be at the “District Office Intersection” of Yaoworat and Mae Luan roads.  Timing is everything and as I walked  past the Phuket Merlin Hotel a police officer on a motorbike roared by on his way to block off the traffic.

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