impromptu holidays

I've never been anywhere with so many national holidays. It seems like there are always several of them each time I visit. The one we are experiencing currently is celebrating the return of the deceased kings ashes to the royal palace (which is less than a block from our hotel). They announced the holiday about a week ago and closed banks and schools, restriped the roads, painted the curbs, painted the trees, hung loudspeakers with dangling wires all over the area. These loudspeakers come on at 5:30am promptly blaring Buddhist chants and prayers, general announcements and traditional national anthems for the rest of the day. There is a reason they are called "loud"speakers. There is no sleeping past 5:30 around here. Things should return to normal after tomorrow.

The last two nights they have had fireworks over the river and yesterday they wouldn't allow us to leave the hotel until after the kings ashes and the whole procession passed our street. For security reasons we were not allowed to be on any balconies. There was ton of military in the area and helicopters watching from above. Pretty crazy. We were able to slip out front and sit on the sidewalk to watch the procession go by with the locals. It was really cool to be here for such an opportunity.