Songkran is not the best time of year to be a correspondent in Pattaya. It’s not that the story you’re after – a hard-hitting piece on sex tourism, naturally – has gone anywhere. Given the Thai New Year tradition of drenching everyone and everything with bucket and super soaker and hydraulic water cannon, the prevalence of flesh in the country’s sex capital is actually more pronounced than usual: Songkran is basically a city-wide wet T-shirt competition. (In reality, the massive water fight, like so much else in Thailand, is more a perversion of local custom – young people blessing their elders with a sprinkle of scented water to mark the end of the dry season and ensure good luck—than an accurate expression of it, designed to appeal to foreigners through sheer hedonistic scale.)
No, it’s difficult to be a correspondent during Songkran because to take one’s camera or notebook anywhere is to invite ruin upon oneself. But one grits one’s teeth, wraps everything in plastic, and strikes out into the filth regardless. There’s Sodom and Gomorrah to discuss.