7th R.R.F.S. 


The Water Festival was quite an ordeal. It was the time when everyone prayed and made offerings to Buddha for rain. The monsoons were essential for the growing season. I don't have a clue what it all meant but everyone seemed to have a good time. One of the traditions is to shake a wet branch over someone, sprinkling them with water. G.I.'s, being what we were, took it to extremes. Steel pots, buckets, fire extinguishers, garden hoses, what ever we could get our hands on. Three or four of us laid siege to the Officers Club one evening. There was an open stairway on the building next to the club. Right across from the door as a matter of fact. Every officer that came out (or tried, as the case may be) got thoroughly soaked. They were all quite good-natured about it. The MP's were the ones I felt sorry for. They really caught hell, hard and often! I doubt that their Jeeps or their sidearms were ever the same again. Even the Thai's got into the act. While walking around the village we got pretty well soaked as well. They were considerate about it, however. I was going to the Temple with my camera to photograph the festivities. A young woman ran up to me with a pan of water. Phen (my Telock) let out a yell and I held my camera over my head. The girl saw it, walked up to me, and carefully poured it down my back. The Thai's were among the most caring and considerate people I have ever been around.


Well, apparently their prayers were answered. These photographs are not out of focus or improperly exposed. I have never seen rain like this either before or after my time in Thailand. It was a real joy going to and from the Post on days like this! My issue raincoat was just about worthless. I had my folks send me a couple of cans of ScotchGuard to waterproof it. Worked great after that. Of course, I still had to worry about drowning in the puddles!


We finally had enough of a "good thing" and headed south. Pattaya beach to be exact. We took the 'express' train. What a joke! It stopped at every town between Udorn and Bangkok. It was a beautiful trip though. It was interesting to see the reactions from people when we stopped. I noticed a group of young girls looking at me. They would stare, look at each other and giggle. I was a bit curious about this. Stan Miller then asked the simple question "How often do you think that they see someone with blond hair and blue eyes?" I forgot that we were in the middle of nowhere. There were no GI's in the entire region so I was something quite different from the norm. The trip from Bangkok to Pattaya required a taxi. Sweet Mother of God what a wild trip that was! We took two taxis and they decided to see who could get there first. That was an experience I wouldn't care to repeat. Once we got to Pattaya we forgot all about the trip there. If was nothing short of fantastic. How many people do you know that have gone SCUBA diving in the Gulf of Siam? I certainly couldn't afford to do that today!