THAILAND - Thanks to the Songkran Festival, mid-April in Thailand is not for the faint-hearted. Gleefully stretched out from today through next Wednesday, the country's biggest annual celebration can also be the most annoying and uncomfortable time of year for anyone who's not fully prepared.
Getting soaked to the bone with every venture outdoors is the primary experience in modern times during a festival that once involved no more than the gentle pouring of scented water over the hands of one's elders. Nowadays tens of thousands of people take to the streets for the revelry of soggy combat, armed with formidable water artillery, but not everyone appreciates the raucous turn that tradition has taken.
The ideal escape is overseas, but if that's beyond your reach, you can simply stay indoors for the duration of the festival, and it doesn't necessarily have to resemble a zombie-apocalypse movie where the shut-in survivors subsist on canned food and grim determination. Here we offer a few suggestions on how to make your Songkran lock-down enjoyable - even festive!
You're walking home, buckets of water fly, and you can't even raise your arms in defence because you're loaded down with bags of groceries. This is not usually fun. So, instead, have you're food delivered. Tesco Lotus and Tops Supermarket both have online shopping and will deliver to your door any day. Let their people get soaked (as long as your doughnuts stay dry). Both accept debit and credit cards as well.
All the fresh produce, frozen foods, household products and even pet food at Tesco Lotus can be delivered any day (and several times a day if you need it) from 10 to 10. The fee is a flat Bt60 and it doesn't matter how much you spend. Go to www.TescoLotus.com.
Tops Supermarket will deliver your care package for free if your spend Bt999 or more. Otherwise it's Bt150. You can get same-day delivery only if you order before 1pm. Go to www.Tops.co.th.
On any holiday it's perfectly reasonable if you don't feel like cooking, but during Songkran there's the added hazard of venturing out to restaurants. Get your cooked grub instead from Foodpanda.co.th, choosing dishes from a list of hundreds of good-quality restaurants and having it delivered straight to your door for a small fee. Foodpanda's phone application (iOS and Android) means you can place an order in less than 10 seconds. During the festival the delivery hours are noon to 9pm.
No point letting the waterlogged hordes outside have all the fun, so stock up on alcohol via Wish Beer (www.WishBeer.com or www.Facebook.com/WishBeerThailand). You can choose among 400 brands of premium beer from all over Europe, by the bottle or the "discovery case" - a mixed sampler of flavoured craft beers priced at Bt1,550. Delivery is free if you spend Bt2,000. Spend at least Bt4,000 and they'll knock 10 per cent off the overall bill.
If you had the foresight to pack your liquor cabinet in advance, all you need are some tips on making "best-ever" cocktails from veteran mixologist Joseph Boroski.
"Here's the check list: booze - no bottom-shelf bottles, please - fruit or juice, sugar, syrup or sweetener, lemons or limes or some other sour fruit. Green mango can work in a pinch," he says.