Saturday, February 7, 2009

Holiday Happenings

A "Triple Crown" event for me this week. Over the weekend it is the Chiang Mai Floral Festival followed on Monday by Makha Bucha Day (Magha Puja), when the monks and the faithful pay homage to Lord Buddha with a candle light procession (wian Tian) at the wat. There was a floral parade Saturday morning with a program, including a beauty pagent, in the evening at the Three Kings Monument.

Then at weeks end, it is time for Khun Meow (that's me, 'meow' being Cat in Thai) to sign in with immigration. Now that I'm on the retirement visa I no longer have to leave country to renew my visa every two months. For a while I took advantage of the requirement to explore a lot of contiguous countries, but it gets tiresome after a while to be on such a confining schedule.

Now the only requirement when I am in country is the 3-month sign-in ritual. I think there is a way to do it on line, but living in Chiang Mai, going to immigration is no big deal--a nice variation on my daily routine. Get there early, sign the book and one can be through quite quickly. This time I can even do double duty while I'm there and get my re-entry permit as required with my visa should I chose to leave country. I can travel anytime I want on this visa as long as I get my re-entry permit before I leave.

This cycle, my sign-in date is 14 February...Happy Heart Day! Been reading in the international news about all the backlash in some countries against the celebration of Valentine's Day. Bad for the morals they claim! Good thing I'm not writing from India or Saudi Arabia or I might have to worry that the government would take down my blog for just hinting that I might celebrate, but this is Thailand and there's nothing "lese majeste" (literally, injury to majestry) about Valentine's Day. Only lese majeste brings on the censorship here.

However, 14 February this year comes on a Saturday and immigration will be closed, so I get the distinct pleasure of showing up on Friday the 13th. And a big BOOOOOO to you!

Way back in another life I was known to celebrate this auspicious date. As a committed counter-culture person back in the Medieval times referred to as "THE '60's, lots of strange events took place. (Didn't Dylan once say "If you remember the '60's you weren't there."?) I may not remember all of it, but I do remember that my friends and I used to celebrate any number of oddball things. Living in San Francisco, earthquake predictions were a favorite excuse for a party as was any random Friday the 13th. Dress up like a black cat and go BOOGIE.

So this year I guess I'll just put on my red and black to cover both celebrations and go sign the immigration book, thankful that I am in Thailand living well, where everyday is a potential party. There are too many festivals here to even keep an accurate count.

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