Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Boat Races - Sunday - Boun Song Heua

The annual boat races are held between teams from different villages/wats/other organisations and rivalry is intense.  The crowds really get into supporting their team and the teams wear bright colours.  Andrew counted about 53 people in one boat.  We are not sure how the results through to the finals worked but each race was between two boats and they were working hard. 

The camera video was on low resolution, but you'll get the idea of what was going on.  The other side of the river is Thailand.  There are islands in the middle of the Mekong indicating low river levels, which is apparently unusual this early in the season.

We went down early to get a flavour of things before the afternoon finals, but it was still very busy at 10am.  There were people at street level, food tents and stalls on the middle level and more people watching perched on the rocks of the flood protection walls of the Mekong.

There had been a lot of talk that the city got very busy over boat race weekend and as the week progressed that turned out to be the case.  Lots of stalls were set up on the road alongside the Mekong.  Traders selling everything from jeans to light shades.  The most dangerous job appeared to be being the attendant on the throw-a-dart-at-balloon-and-win-a-prize stalls.  Either the darts were blunt or the balloons were Teflon coated but there was quite a bit of darts bouncing off the balloons and attendants jumping out of their path. 

We also got frisked before we were allowed into the area by a wall of male and female students on each street corner. 

And while the time between races wasn't long, there were occasionally entertainment barges that went up and down in front of the crowds on the riverbank.  Below is a video of one barge with "entertainment" on it.  You might want to make sure you know where your volume control is, particularly toward the end.  They had good speakers and the sound was pretty much what we experienced except the ohhh-weee-ooooh chorus was repeated again & again & again & again....

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