It is December 5th, 2015 – The King's birthday. Together with my friend Joe, we're walking down the crowded passages of the Light and Sound Festival in Kanchanaburi, Thailand. No matter how much I peek my head above the crowd, I cannot see the end of this flashing spectacle, trenched in colours and loud music.
The market sells everything you can imagine, from toys, souvenirs and household items to fried tarantulas and machetes. Not only can you buy most things here, you can also eat most things. In every other corner there is a live event, karaoke, dance or tourists getting tattoos under flickering fluorescent lights.
The Paris terror attack, which left 130 people dead and nearly 400 injured, is just a couple of weeks old. I've always felt a little uneasy amongst larger crowds, where I can't see an escape path or passage, but this time at the market it hits me especially hard. I was not afraid of anything happening in particular really – kids and families are having a great time and I have already gotten used to the Thailand buzz, but somehow I find troubles to breath.
The air is dense and humid, every other stand is preparing food and smoke and smells are stinging my eyes and throat. Joe is having a good time there, an excited globetrotter. I wanted to tell Joe that it'd be better if we left, but I feel like chickening out, being prude or overly sensitive, not appreciating this adventure. I push myself a little further down this carnival until I couldn't anymore. I tell Joe that I gotta get out of here.
We walked out of the festival and back to our scooters. Looking back at the scene trenched in smoke, steam and colours, I laughed out loud and swore this was one of the craziest things I had ever seen. I wouldn't want to leave a bad impression on this festival, Kanchanaburi, Thailand or the Thai people. I think it was a vivid and wild spectacle, a complete culture shock for me and something I had never experienced before, which, in retrospective, is something great taking home from a holiday or an adventure.
This was Part 01 of my travel report and image series of my travels to Thailand in November and December 2015. In Part 02 you will read about Joe and me hitchhiking roughly 300km through Thailand in Tuk-Tuks, buses and the back of a pickup truck and the stories originating from there. Thanks for reading.