By: Joe Caesar & Cera Cantu
Preparation for the parade started early in the morning around 6. The theme of the day was patience. We had to wait to be called for makeup and hair to be done by some of the villagers. Once we were dressed we had to wait for the parade. All of us crowded into a house in the village to get our makeup done. There were village children there that wanted to play with us. They stole a lot of cellphones and took a lot of pictures. When we got our phones back we all had hundreds of pictures of the kids and all of us that the kids had taken. There were also village girls there that spoke some English. One of the girls tried to teach some of us phrases, numbers, and days of the week in Thai. The outfits they dressed us in had many layers. The Thai dancers wore gold, itchy jackets with purple skirts. Despite the fact that the outfits were elaborate and hot, we all looked amazing. You could hardly recognize yourself. The makeup artists were incredibly talented. Once we got to the parade, our discomfort started to dissapate. Everyone was excited to see us. As soon as we stepped out of the van we were swept away by the villagers for pictures. A woman even brought her dog to take pictures with us. I had forgotten about the intense heat because of the excitement. Also, it was starting to get cloudy and sprinkling as the parade started. The Thai dancers were behind the float carrying the princesses. There were no barriers between those watching the parade and those in the parade. While we were dancing, people would stop us for pictures. Some villagers tried to talk to us in Thai. Iam and other ladies kept bringing us water and cool towels. It was difficult to stay focused on the dance the whole time. I kept glancing over at the dancer on my right.
At the end of the parade she came up and gave me a huge hug. By the end of the parade, the sky was dark and stormy. A member of the parliament was present. He gave a speech welcoming us to the province. The day was long, hard, and hot, but I will never have another experience like that. The people were so nice to all of us. We felt like royalty. I also felt guilty. They gave us so much. Because of us, the local people in the parade started getting ready at 3 am. Also, there were probably girls and boys that didn’t get to be in the parade. A family let us take over their house and eat their food for the day. Nobody seemed to mind. All they cared about was meeting us. The experience made me realize how little attention I pay to foreigners when I’m home. The whole event was really special to me because most people don’t get the full cultural experience like that. Most people just go some where and go see all the sights and do the usual tourist thing but this was completely different. The community completely took us in and made us feel like we had lived there for years. It was amazing to see how close everyone in the village was and how much they just enjoy each other’s company. A lot of times in the United States we take all of our technology for granted and miss out on the little things like just spending time with other people and being outside. The whole entire parade experience kind of just brought me back down to earth and made me realize that you don’t need a bunch of fancy things to have a great timeJ