I'm launched on my India odyssey--which is the way I think of this trip even though I'm visiting a few other countries.

I flew into Bangkok, and spent the first 10 days chilling out at a guest house in Bangplie, a suburb of Bangkok.  Great swimming pool, 24-hour room service, and all for $8usd per day.

The swimming pool was the key for me, as I swam vigorous aerobic laps three and four times a day--as I had done in my 6-month stay in Chile.

Rub Bua Festival

I arrived in Bangpli at the beginning of a big festival, Rub Bua.  Celebrations through the week culminate in a river-based procession and celebration.  The river was only a 3-minute walk from my guest house, so a group of us booked space on a boat.



We went down to the river, already lined with hundreds of boats--some tiny, others carrying 20 or more 

This boat with the red roof was ours, and was brought to our dock



Soon we saw this boat approaching our dock








That's a huge pile of lotus blossoms that people have thrown at the  Buddha


and people on our dock threw dozens more as the boat approached










Looking across the river, and up and down the river, we saw hundreds of boats




And as we launched, we passed by numerous boats, whose occupants greeted us and each other enthusiastically




And all along the river, crowds hailed us with waves, smiles, and occasional lotus blossoms





As we plied the river, up and down perhaps a half mile, we passed hundreds of boats, included elaborate ones like this...




...and sleek simple ones like this

But check out the engines on these two speedboats, with their direct drive (seen on the rear of the boat at the right).  They roar, they soar--at all hours of the night during the festival



One of the big boats was filled with these young Thai maidens...




...photographed here with an old codger, grinning for no apparent reason




We even had a band or two





And some boogied their way downriver...




...while we exchanged smiles and waves and lotus blossoms with people all along the river




The whole scene was one of utter gaiety and community celebration

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