Monday, July 8, 2013

Thai-style 4th of July, aka Fireworks in Bangkok!

Longtime readers of this blog know that I am into 4th of July. Whether in Tahoe or DC, at the beach or on the National Mall, it is a big holiday in my life. And when I'm in Thailand, twelve hours ahead of the US, that just means I get to celebrate this great holiday before everyone else!

So while you were all running your 4th of July 5Ks, or enjoying your fireman's pancake breakfasts, Andy and I were setting off fireworks in Bangkok.

It was our first full day in Bangkok, and quite the day it was. We started with a run (my second since leaving America oof!), trying to find a park but failing miserably and running around the streets of Old Bangkok for an hour. Honestly, I don't know if my exhaust-filed lungs will ever recover...

Then we started our tourism. We hopped in a tuktuk, that took us to a couple temples and sights to see. The driver tried to get us to buy things along the way (he gets commission I'm sure), but we are at least a little savvy and were having none of it. Then we ended up at the Grand Palace, which is the main sight in Bangkok and definitely worth the price of admission.

As we meander around the city, we stumbled upon a firework shop on a side street. Andy's eyes lit up, "Today is 4th of July! We should set off fireworks!" Yes!

We tried to ask the shopkeeper if/where it's ok to set them off, and she seemed to think parks were a-ok. (I say "seemed" because language barriers are like that game Telephone, in that you never know how your meaning is getting garbled along the way and vice versa.)

So a few hours later, after exploring the most epic flower market ever -- seriously, picture about five blocks plus a full warehouse completely packed with every kind of flower imaginable -- we found a park.

We snuck in, furtively looking right and left and wondering if setting off fireworks in a public park on a Thursday night in Old Bangkok constitutes a crime. The coast was clear, and there were no signs saying we couldn't set off fireworks. They sold them to us here, so they must be ok here, we reasoned.

We launched our first mortar into the city sky, and with a BOOM! it exploded pink and white above the trees. 

Woah that was loud!
Should we do another one?
Yes hurry quick before someone stops us!

I was about to light the fuse on Fireworks in Bangkok Take 2, when an agitated but smiling (they're ALWAYS smiling) Thai policeman ran up our little grassy knoll, waving his arms and yelling "No! Stop! No!"

Uhoh busted. I put on my biggest Thailand smile and played dumb of course, "Hello! Not ok here? We're so sorry! Yes yes ok we'll leave now!"

We left the park and pondered our options. Five more mortars to shoot...where to do it? I remembered a bit of open space next to the little canal near where we bought the fireworks, so let's try there?

Location number two was a success. There was a parch of grass with not too much around (well, a major road on the other side of a wall, but at least there was a wall?), and we were able to shoot off all five fireworks before someone came to stop us. And the man who did come to stop us was again smiling so big it was hard to tell if he was here to reprimand us or just to enjoy the show! Turns out it was the former...sorry Bangkok, but happy 4th of July!!!