It feels oppressively hot in April in Thailand, and there is a water festival to celebrate the new year in the middle of the month. Songkran offers a very unique, beautiful, and fun view into life in Thailand, and I plan on experiencing it every year in the future. I went to the beach in Pattaya for the festival a few days after doing the same in rural Isan. In the villages of Isan, the local monks lead a ritual straight out of Mircea Eliade's Shamanism that involves using string to connect all the homes in the village to a center post erected in a field. The post - a ritualistic world tree - is flanked by tables for the monks to sit and a make-shift structure with a roof, electricity and amplified sound. The monks come in the evening for a ceremony and chant for seemingly ever about blessings to come in the new year. When the monks leave, the party continues. I sang karaoke to Winds of Change by Scorpions in a rice field, intoxicated and by request, sipping Thai whiskey and refusing shots of Thai tequila the best I could. I was self-conscious singing at first in this strange setting, but I remembered no one around spoke English so I probably sounded like Klaus Meine to them. Good times.