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Rub Bua Festival

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Rub Bua, the festival of receiving the lotus flower, is an annual event in Bang Phli where people bombard a float with lotuses (loti?). My cultural adviser tells me it used to be called Yon Bua, throwing the lotus; but presumably “receiving” sounds more spiritual.

The advice from Richard Barrow, who knows about these things, was to go early to get a good viewing spot. As the event started at 0730, this meant going the day before. I chose a hotel close to the temple which was a good idea because the roads are totally blocked in the morning. But it was also a bad idea because the temple was in the middle of a four day festival; so when we went to bed for a early night, the noise coming from the temple grounds made sleep impossible.

There were at least two bands playing simultaneously, an announcer trying his best to shout over them, and assorted noises from a funfair.

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Worst of all was the racket from these guys:

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Notice the total absence of anything resembling a silencer…

What sounded like thousands of these little buggers had descended on the festival and the racket from their exhausts ricocheted around our room as we tried in vain to sleep. Any occasional silence was broken by an aircraft on approach. Yep, we were also on the flight path to Swampy airport.

The temple festivities wound down, but not so the noisy boats, or the aircraft; so it was no problem getting up at 0500 because we hadn’t been to sleep.

Headed straight out and we were at the temple at 0520; by which time people were three deep by the water’s edge. No problem, because our scouting mission on the previous day had identified a spot with a view down the river, under cover, and with seats. Even that was partially occupied, but we got a reasonable position and sat down to wait for the three hours before the floats would arrive. We were not alone.

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We were kept entertained by the constant flow of canal traffic. The noise machines were out in force and receiving disapproving looks from everyone.

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More welcome were the boats that were throwing packets of food and water bottles to the ever increasing waiting crowd.

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At last, the first of the floats appeared on the canal; and behind it we could see the main target for the lotus throwing (sorry, receiving) being hounded by little boats full of press photographers.

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The first float received a smattering of lotus offerings:

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But the most merit could be achieved by the chucking your lotus such that it landed in front of the Buddha on the main float.

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In a couple of minutes the float had disappeared down the canal, leaving a flowery carpet on the water.

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The remainder of the floats followed.

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Time for us to leave, but many stayed because the floats would be towed back to the start, providing another opportunity for lotus throwing. We headed back through the temple grounds where a substantial crowd remained.

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Back to our room and then home to Pattaya. Slept very well.

A most enjoyable event, and I didn’t see a single foreigner while I was there. Well worth attending; just don’t stay anywhere within earshot of the canal!

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Camera: PEN-F
Lenses:
Olympus 17mm F1.8
Panasonic Leica Nocticron 42.5mm F1.2
Olympus 75mm F1.8

All black and white images are straight from the camera using the Monochrome setting.

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