King Bhumibol Adulyadej (Rama IX) turns 78 today in his 60th year of his ascension to the thrown. He is the longest reigning king in Thai history and the longest reigning monarch currently in the world. It seemed the whole city was also heading to the grounds. Mobile food vendors made it tough to walk on the sidewalks and were selling everything from Pad Thai noodles and fried rice to strings of smoking sausages and fried river bugs. The quiet park of the Royal Grounds had transformed into a sea of people with huge island stages covered in lights and massive speakers. Thai foot basketball matches, called Ta Kraw, were underway. We watched two teams try to kick, head, or shoulder a wicker ball into a hoop 40 feet above. After watching a bit of "soccetball" we saw a frenetic crowd watch two Thai kick boxers pummel each other. I must say it was exciting. We left the crowded arena and walked with a crowd carrying yellow candles. We ended up in front of a huge stage with people decked out in uniform, many looked military. Before long, people were shoulder to shoulder and some started passing down their flame to others (like a Holy Saturday service before Easter Sunday) A guy over the speakers started saying a prayer. People started responding. Then the crowd, which must have been over one million, started singing a heartfelt song while raising their candles. Some got emotional and were on the verge of tears. Then there were cheers for the King with an explosion of fireworks directly behind us. We had no idea they were setting off fireworks so close to the crowd. It was shocking. As soon as the fireworks ended, the stages erupted with music and dance. People were dressed in very fancy costumes with big headdresses and plumage. It was like four or five Vegas shows going on at once. Other stalls opened up to pass free food and drink to the masses. I didn't see any cake but it was one incredible party.