Saturday, April 17, 2010
Lanterns Gone Awry
One of my favorite aspects of Thai culture are the paper lanterns that you can buy and send off into the sky, complete with a wish. I've only seen them every now and then, but they are just beautiful. I even wanted these for our wedding, but it's completely illegal in the U.S.
On our last night at the beach, I saw one of the lanterns floating in the sky from our hotel window. We all scrambled down to the beach to buy our own lantern to set off. One of the waiters helped us light the sterno-like firestarter in the middle (it's like a mini hot-air balloon). Only problem we had was the wind that night--too much of it and going in the wrong direction. Before we knew it, our lantern went sideways and headed straight for the dinner crowd and surrounding foliage. Panic! Dale took off like a rocket (he is such a 'save the day' kind of guy) and somehow managed to get a hold of it before starting a forest fire, but then it wound up getting stuck in a tree, still on fire. Not sure how, but we didn't set the island on fire, thankfully.
The comical part is that, as usual, this kind of stuff doesn't phase the Thais at all. The waiter felt horrible that he had to charge us the $3.00 for the lantern and it didn't work. As Dale and I were getting our heart rates back to normal on the beach, the waiter came back with a brand-new lantern to try again. We kindly said no thanks and called it a night.
Guess I get why they are not allowed in the U.S.