Tag Archives: water

Scenes of Mae Sot

I cannot express how beautiful our trip up into the mountains was. Here are just a few of my favorites pictures: 

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Songkran Festival

Imagine walking down a crowded city street. Now imagine everyone on that street gleefully shooting you with water guns or tossing buckets of water at your head.

Welcome to the Songkran Festival. 

Songkran is the Buddhist New Year and people celebrate by taking to the streets and splashing one another with water. It is a fun but potentially dangerous holiday as many use it as an excuse to drink and generally behave in way they would not otherwise.

My friend and I decided to play tourist and visit a night market. Along the way, we rode in an air-conditioningless bus with open windows. Every time the bus slowed down, someone chucked a bucket of water in our direction! It was cooling and kind of fun, but some of the passengers were less thrilled. At one point, a girl started screaming at the people in the street. They in turn started shouting obscenities back at her. 

Nothing like a holiday to bring people together.

My Arch Nemesis: Lids

My apartment is quickly cluttering with unopened jugs of water. I can’t get the lids off of them. I twist with as much force as I can without the slightest success. It makes me feel silly to go out and buy more water with them sitting there, but I can’t get them open! One of these days I will work up the nerve to lug them to the lobby and see if I can convince a random person to open them for me. Either that or I will only buy bottled water from now on since bottles are easier to open than jugs. 

I think trying to open jars and lids is the biggest challenge of living alone. 

The Water Law Professor

“Great weather we’re having!” says the professor, as a few remaining students trickle in. “Great that Spring finally arrived.”

“But it is Fall,” says a literal minded girl in the back. 

His smile falters somewhat.

I think, “This professor is funny. I am going to like this class.”

Then he starts teaching. He explains he is half Chippewa and was raised on the reservation listening to the stories of the elders. 

We nod politely. There are only 8 of us in the class so it is noticeable if you aren’t paying attention. 

He continues. However, instead of heading to water as one would expect with a class titled Water Law, he mentions Locke, then Marx. He talks about property rights and ownership. If his thread is a little unclear, we are at least in familiar territory. 

Then he starts talking about the Chippewa’s worldview, about the giant turtle who crawled out from the sea and formed North America. Warming to the subject, he talks about moon cycles (“our men have them too!”) and the Chippewa calendar based off a turtle’s back (not “the rule of some pope!”) 

We are all now totally lost but the professor is just getting started. He shows us pictures of his Grandfather – happily sidetracking to talk about the crazy stories the man told – and his brothers. He talks about the infinity symbol and how all of nature must work together. He discourses on Native American farming and spends a good five minutes ranting about Europeans who claimed the tribes were nomadic. He talks about the importance of the numbers 3 and 4; he shows us a picture of corn, squash, and beans and tells how the 3 of them fit together. He then explains the 4th element is mankind. 

Puzzled about what this has to do with water law? Oh, me too! Our professor lost his syllabus and openly told us he was teaching from a slideshow used for a different class. (Presumably one about the Chippewa worldview.) His main points however, were that conflict is an anathema and that all things must be brought into balance, otherwise “the Creator will bring it into balance for us, and we may not like the result.” 

I have a feeling I may not like the result of this class.