Tha Days: Buffalo race

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From: Hugh Paxton [mailto:paxton.bkk@gmail.com]
Sent: Friday, October 10, 2014 10:28 AM
To:
Subject: Tha Days: Buffalo race

Hugh Paxton’s Blog clambered into a car driven by Rita. We were on for a water buffalo race, the only event of this nature in the world.

The drive to ChonBuri was rather typical. Congested streets. Traffic jams. Rather pointless road works. But Rita weaved her way through and we arrived early. I was impressed by many things. There was a wetland. Lots of birds. But more than that. There was a feeling of the sea out there. I love that sensation. That invitation to hop into a boat and get going.

But we were here for buffalos. Not clowning around in the Gulf of Thailand in a banana boat or a derelict freighter destined for far off shores.

Buffalos we got. There were buffalos everywhere! Lots in the back of pick up trucks looking bored.

Organisation was a bit absent but the buffs! Lots and lots!

The event was surrounded by hundreds of food stalls and hundreds of other stalls selling exactly the same things – stupid fluffy animals made in Shanghai and illegal replicants of Japanese anime characters. There was absolutely nothing I wanted to buy. What bemused me, (and Rita agreed) was why the hell are these people selling the same things? Next to each other?

And why are these things for sale so dull?

The buffalo races began late. The mayor of Pattaya was scheduled to wave the flag to begin the excitement and he arrived an hour beyond schedule. What a lazy jerk! The crowd had become restless.

There were buffalos everywhere but the novelty was wearing thin.

Personally, I was totally bored with buffalos. And the rain came in, in dribbles. And my bench was designed to make any bottom hurt. My neighbor, decided to practice a bit of English. “Late! One hour late!”

“I agree,” I said. Just to improve his vocabulary.

He looked hot and furious!

“I agree,” he said. We were friends! And in complete agreement.

There wasn’t a great deal to do so I bought a stick impaled with three dried and heavily salted and flattened squid. A bit of an ordeal. I thought of Chaplin eating his boot. Rita is a pragmatic sort of person and suggested that I just stopped breaking my teeth and took the squid back home. I did. And my wife ate it and enjoyed the experience. Disturbing!

The races began after lengthy parades and they were very swift. The riders sit on the rear because the middle of a buffalo is rather weak and cannot sustain weight. It looks like a frightening sort of way to spend the day – I wouldn’t try it. But these chaps did! Some fell off. Thais are tough. This one buffalo racer couldn’t find the brakes. He got tossed off, sailed away smashed into unforgiving track and rolled around. I was afraid that he might have sustained injuries but he recovered almost instantly. His buffalo, kindly, didn’t massacre the crowd at the end of the race course. It stalled and looked repentant.

The buffalo races are well worth a look. If you want to see water buffalo the festival is still ongoing. It will terminate in a couple of days. But will happen again next year.

It’s a day out with a difference! The photos are Rita’s. I took 29 and two were OK. She took over 400, and hers are better!

Hugh

From: Rita Harriman [mailto:rita.harriman]
Sent: Thursday, October 09, 2014 2:32 PM
To: paxton.bkk
Subject: Buffalo race

Hugh,

Here are some of the pictures from the race.

If you want to see some more of them you will need to come over.

Rita

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