Today I'm going to post all of my buffalo pictures. And I warn you, there are A LOT. I might have to split it up into two posts, for you know what they say about too many buffalo pictures. I don't think I have to repeat that well-worn phrase.
After the jump, all the buff that's fit to blog.
Ah, a 7:45 Wake-Up Call and I was out the door, from Bang Saen to Chonburi, about a fifteen-minute, twenty baht ride that dropped me right next to Chonburi City Hall, home of the 2009 B-Games.
My first glimpse of the majestic, mighty, masticular buffalo. Standing in what appears to be the bottom of a mountain of poop.
Hey, all right! The 2009 Chonburi Buffalo Festival, brought to you by Coca-Cola! When you think huge ungainly animals plopping around in their own shit, think COKE!
A buffalo roaming in the street, with very little restraint or safety taken into consideration. This would be a theme of the day.
Now that's what I call skid marks! Am I right?!?! It's FECES!!
Lucky number 13 gets watered down before his race. Look at him, he really likes it.
This would also be a theme of the day.
In the stables. Notice how close I am able to get to the buffaloes, who are gigantic and potentially murderous.
A buffalo with decorated horns, roaming free in the fairgrounds. No danger here, it's just a five-hundred pounds beast with sharp horns and a lifetime of oppression and humiliation by humans.
A closer look. Yeah, I would park my car there.
Action shot! This buffalo isn't actually racing (note the absence of the jockey), but he is running free. This is also a good shot of the actual grounds--the track is basically a slop--and how close the stands are to the competitors.
Some corporate cheerleaders. Drop down and get your eagle on, buffaloes.
The starting gate. There is a large stable just behind where buffaloes are led out by handlers who then (attempt to) lead them into these gates. This fails about 98% of the time.
Ready to race...
...ready to sniff buttcrack.
Ready for Mardi Gras?
Here begins the Fashion Show portion of the photos. Along with the races, there is also a prize for the best-decorated buffalo and buffalo team. These are some of the entrants.
Hey! This buffalo is painted like a cow! Why, that would be as crazy as a white man painting his face black! (Wait for it....)
Team Racism, painting up.
All finished! Look, he's a Farang! That three minute Tuk Tuk ride will be 300 Baht, please!
I don't know. Number six, everyone!
One of my favorites, this buffalo is "trashy." And check the fake rider on top.
And also how happy the buffalo is to be wearing dozens of old beer cans and water bottles.
Side view. Not sure what the sign says...the big words say "Chonburi City," and I assume the small part is about trash collection. Or how hilarious it is to dress up water buffaloes, hahaha.
Promotional buffalo. Really happy to have an airline logo painted on his torso.
Entrance to the market. One big difference between America and Thailand: there was literally no buffalo merchandise for sale at any of the hundreds of stands here. Absolutely the opposite of what a Water Buffalo Racing Festival in the U.S. would be like. Uh, one of many ways, I guess.
This is one thing that was happening in the market. I watched for about ten minutes, all of which consisted of the man in jeans talking into a microphone about what appeared to be the dead body in front of him. Occasionally he would sprinkle some water out of a drinking glass onto the sheet.
Hey, remember when I talked about ways Thailand was different from America? I'm going to go ahead and add "Corpse Resuscitation Magic" to that list.
Hola, buffalo-cita; is it Dia de los Muertos already?
Decked-out buffalo, meet decked-out golden woman.
Again, allowed to get really, super close to this massive animal.
Part 2 forthcoming: make sure you check that out, because I still have a lot to cover, including more racism, cockfighting, and the time I thought it would be a good idea to wear a cowboy hat.