PHUKET: The Heavens opened and it was wet, wet, wet for Phuket's first Vegetarian Festival street parade of 2013 today.
Probably because small boats have been advised not to put to sea off Phuket in such bad weather, one of the mah song entranced warriors wore a propeller through his cheek.
Connections with work or sport are usually made in this fashion, so the man with guns through each cheek made bystanders wonder.
Soon the world's media will be filled with photos of the unique Phuket parades, probably frightening the life out of small children and old folks in every corner of the globe.
In truth the Phuket vegetarian festival parades are confronting but the sentiments are all good: purity, sacrifice and redemption are what the event symbolises.
And the first parade is a kind of ladies day, with female participants from the small Choor Su Gong Naka Shrine almost equalling the number of men in the procession to Phuket City.
Today's deeply symbolic parade was not intended to be a wet t-shirt competition but at times it seemed like it could become one.
Inevitably, because the ladies were less likely to be pierced, the man with the guns and the guy with the propeller through his cheek competed for attention with angelic figures bearing lotus blossoms.
Firecrackers, though, were seldom heard.
The Gods appear to have been kind in delivering a heavy dose of rain. Residents sleeping in on a Sunday south of Phuket City should be eternally grateful.
While the muddied skies over Phuket City that deluged so much this morning were expected to clear this afternoon, weather forecasters predict more rain to come.
Visitors who want a taste of the Phuket festival without the visual excitement of a parade should go to the largest of the vegetarian food street stalls in Phuket City, near the Jui Tui, Bang Neow and Samkong Shrines.
The atmosphere is always remarkable, with yellow flags and adherents all dressed in white for the nine days that the Phuket festival stops traffic.
Each day street parades will entertain onlookers, with the Sapam, Bangkoo, Cherng Talay and Hai Yian Geng shrines due to prance along Phuket roads on Monday.
It will be interesting to see whether any mah song can top the man with the guns or the guy with the propeller.
Bring an umbrella and be prepared to wince.