The day started very early for me - I arrived at Kathu Shrine at approximately 5:30 a.m.
Arriving at Kathu Shrine was a wonderful experience and it was very busy when I arrived.
The grounds were packed with the shrine carriers preparing themselves with a smile, smoking and chatting to each other. There were the possessed on chairs being pierced and I am always surprised that there are no accidents whilst this is being done.
A recognised some of the possessed from last year but this year he was pierced with a plethora of swords over his highly tattooed body - in fact this was the the same person on the front page of the Bangkok Post this year.
Then there were the tourists, farangs and the photographers - I would note here that I really think that people who observe so closely in the Shrine that the should wear white.
Inside the Shrine were the people awaiting possession in front of the shrines. At this time I met Jamie who was waiting for the parade to begin and then run into the village.
I thank the gentleman who pulled me away from the front just as the man next to me erupted into dancing and screaming before advancing to the front of the shrine where they were dressed.
The Chief Mah Song arrived at the Front of the Shrine and shared with us some incantations and swords were drawn from his belt and the ground was 'blessed'. He returned to the shrine.
After this the pierced and the possessed began to stream through - amazingly a car tried to drive into the Shrine and the police were their to say he could not - it was a 'promoter' pick up?!
Then the Chief returned standing on a shrine being carried by a number of people - fabulous. It was at this time that the firecrackers began to be lit - the atmosphere was exciting.
I ran with the shrines through the village and hope that I would be able to capture the excitement which was clearly there.
As we continued to walk through the Village there were people waiting for the shrines so they were able to light their firecrackers, others had tables / shrines set up outside their homes and businesses and they were inviting some of the possessed to bless them and there were others kneeling on the floor awaiting a blessing for themselves. Hundreds of people there and they were there for different reasons.
As we approached Central Festival the roads began to get a little cramped and the larger vehicles were pulled to one side to the let the parade continue. We then entered into Phuket Town which is a place always a favourite for me.
We continued to walk and there was sometimes so many things to look at I simply stopped and watched.
At Bang Neow Shrine I chose to stop for some refreshment from Clinic Kong and it was here that I chose to stop and return to work - I had my Bubble Tea from Mellow Yellow and my Cappuccino from Circle Coffee and returned exhilarated to work - ready for the next day - the last night