Tuesday, April 17, 2012

April Holiday

Well, the Songkran celebrations (at least the water throwing part) were not nearly as bad as I thought they would be.  Of course, I only went out of the house a few times on Friday and Saturday and, even then, I went in the car.  Although the car was sprayed and had a lot of water dumped on it, we stayed nice and dry.  Kevin even went out and drove around Nichada a few times just to get the car "washed".  A couple of my friends made the mistake of running errands in their golf carts and ended up soaked. Caitlynne went with some friends on a "Songkran Bus".  It was an open air bus and they sprayed water at everyone as they drove around outside of Nichada.  Not exactly my cup of tea but she had fun.  I heard there was a lot of water throwing on Soi Samakee ( a street outside of the front gate of Nichada) but I did not venture out to confirm that!  In Nichada, a lot of children stood outside their neighborhoods and sprayed those passing with hoses, water guns and buckets of water.  Saturday night, we went downtown to go to Mass and then walked to a nearby restaurant for dinner. There were some groups of young adults on the streets throwing water but I smiled nicely and asked them not to spray us.  They offered us a small glass of water in which to stick our hands for the blessing and were very happy when we did.  I was so happy they respected our request as it would have been miserable for us to sit through dinner and the car ride home in wet and dirty water-smelling clothes.  

Sunday morning, Kevin and I got up to run before we left for Pattaya.  I was about 15 minutes behind Kevin and, literally, almost stumbled across this fellow...
First, I must confess that this is not my photo but is provided courtesy of J. Bulian. 99% of the time, I have either my phone or my camera with me but, of course, not that morning.  So, in order to add a little drama to my story, I had to search the internet and find a photo to insert.  I have since learned that this snake is a Burmese Python and is commonly found all over Southeast Asia, including in inner-city Bangkok. 

I was finishing my run on the main street in Nichada and was about 1/4 mile from our neighborhood when I looked down to adjust my iPod.  Out of the corner of my eye, I saw something move right in front of me.  About 10 feet ahead of me, a very large snake was beginning to make its way across the street!  I ran to the closest neighborhood and screamed (maybe shrieked is a better word?!?) for the guard.  He followed me to the snake and radioed for other guards.  

The guards caught the python in just a few minutes.  Of course, this being Thailand, no gloves or other safety protections were used.  One of the guards was even wearing flip flops.  That was my first clue that the snake was not venomous.  The snake was at least 8 feet long and about 5" at its widest spot.  Not huge but big enough.

I probably wouldn't try this myself but it really was quite simple to capture the python.  A guard held a short stick out to the python and it quickly wrapped his (I took the liberty and assigned it a gender!) head and upper body tightly around the stick. The python's lower body was wrapped around a small tree but the guards unwound him carefully.  However, immediately after the guards unwound the python from the tree, he wrapped his lower body entirely around one of the guard's arms.  It happened so quickly and freaked me out (just a little bit) but the guard was not at all bothered.  The python was then unwound from the guard's arm and deposited very carefully into a burlap bag.   Easy peasy, right?  My heart was pounding the entire time.

Since Nichada is built on a swamp and still has a lot of swamp land surrounding it, there are a lot of snakes around.  I have been told that snakes (and a lot of other creepy crawly creatures) become more active once the rainy season begins and, since it is now that time, I expect to hear about more snake sightings.  Most of the streets in Nichada have large trees overhanging the sidewalks and extending well out over the streets.  Now, my biggest fear is that a python is going to drop down from a tree on me while I am out running.  I might become a treadmill runner after all.  Cobras are very numerous here and, in the last week, I have heard of three sightings in Nichada. Being the inquisitive person that I am, I wonder if the guards use any safety protection when they capture the cobras?  

So, that was our excitement for Sunday morning.  We had an uneventful drive to the Grand Centara Resort in Pattaya and arrived just after lunch on Sunday.  We spent most of our time reading and relaxing.  Kevin and Christopher tried out the rock climbing wall while Caitlynne and I had facials but other than swimming and walking around the resort, we didn't move too much.  

This is the view from my balcony as I had my coffee early this morning.
And the view a little later..
 An island in the Gulf of Thailand.
We are now back in Nichada and Kevin is unpacking and re-packing his suitcase for a trip to the U.S.  The kids are off from school for the rest of the week and are busy making plans to get together with their friends.  

Have a great Tuesday!

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