Kate and Carla Finally Take on the World!!! travel blog

out to dinner for kate's birthday

Our hosts, Sawat and Nui

Kate awakens to birthday goodies and messages from around the world

We enjoy sangria with Bernie!

Kate gives Bernie birthday love

Water water, everywhere!


Hey all,

So we made it to Chiang Mai without incident. First, a little about Songkran. Songkran is the Thai New Year and is celebrated by throwing water. People roam the streets with bowls of water, water guns or even a garden hose, and drench each other and passersby. The festival happens during the peak of the hot season and people throw water to cool down. However, a giant week long water fight is not the original meaning of the festival. Traditionally Songkran is about visiting family and spending time with elderly relatives. Since Chiang Mai is surrounded by a moat, it is best place in Thailand to celebrate the New Year. The water throwing began days before the festival began (April 13-15) and got more intense everyday. The water throwing was insane. You couldn't go outside without getting totally soaked. And we mean, soaked. So wet that there are no pictures of the craziness except for from inside a car because we couldn't risk ruining the cameras.

So besides the festivities of Songkran, we had our own event to celebrate. I joined the Quarter Century Club. For this momentous event, we began the celebrations by having dinner with Nui and Sawat (a couple we know from our days in Thungsong who live here) at this amazing restaurant on the river. The live band was incredible (Robin is hoping to book them for her wedding ;), the food great, and our hosts awesome. We ate and drank until the wee hours of the morning. The band sang happy birthday to me. Unfortunately, they started while I was in the bathroom, so CB stopped the band and they started again upon my return. The band also felt the need to announce where I was when they started the first time.

The next day was the big day. As soon as I woke up, Robin and CB showered me with birthday gifts. Thank you all for the postcards and cards, it meant a lot. It was so nice to be so far away from home and still get lovin' from all my friends. After lounging around for the morning, Nui and Sawat took us to lunch at a Vietnamese restaurant. It was an all you can eat buffet and we tried everything. After lunch, Nui and Sawat gave us a driving tour around the city where we got to experience Songkran from the dry inside of a car (it felt a little bit like cheating). After some nap time, we all got dressed up (well as dressed up as one can get with their only shoes being flip-flops) and headed to have a feast of Mexican food. We had a wonderful dinner and ate too much. So much, that we made ourselves a little sick and had to end the evening earlier than hoped.

The 13th was the first day of Songkran, and things were crazy. Hundreds of people lined the streets ready to throw water. No one was dry. It was unreal. We went out to participate in the mayhem and within minutes were dripping wet. We spent a few hours standing by the moat just throwing water on every car, person, and motorbike that went by.

That night we decided to hit up the town and began the night with one of our favorite activities, poker. We played some guys from our guesthouse and CB won the tournament (since the stakes were low, it's more about pride). After that we played dominos and pregamed before the main event. After some mixed drinks, we headed to a local bar and properly celebrated my birthday. We stayed out to the early morning and had a great time partying.

So that's the birthday celebration story. Thank you so much to everyone who wrote emails, posted messages, and sent postcards and cards. It was wonderful to hear from everyone. A common theme mentioned was martinis and as soon as I find a place that sells proper martinis, I will have one and think of you all :)

Much love,

Kate, Robin, and Carla

ps. A special shout out to my girls for making my birthday so memorable. They did a great job and made sure my friends on the other side of the world got their birthday wishes to me. I love you guys!! ~~kk

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