November is drawing to a close (I’m pretty sure I started my last blog with that same sentence) the week is coming to an end and me and Jo are looking forward to spending Saturday night in Pattaya… We’d found out, a few weeks ago that Pattaya hosts an international fireworks festival which we’d decided to attend… The plan for Friday night was originally supposed to be Jo would get back from work, we’d have our Thai lesson, Jo would spend an hour at the gym then we were going to head to a local bar called Queen Bee for a couple of drinks with some people from Jo’s work to celebrate a birthday, we didn’t plan to stay too long being as we’d planned to wake early and head to Pattaya on Saturday morning.
Jo messaged me at some point on Friday afternoon to let me know there was “A change of plan for Friday night”… The change of plan was actually us going out to meet a couple of our friends at a local Japanese restaurant before going to Queen Bee… Still, at this point, the plan was still for us to have an early night…
Our friends were there already by the time we arrived, the restaurant had a really relaxed atmosphere, folks were eating, drinking and generally enjoying themselves… We ordered drinks, I had ordered a bottle of Singa beer (they had no Chang.. Oh the horror!) Jo ordered a gin and tonic… My beer arrived quickly, followed soon after by a glass full of ice and a bottle of ginger beer for Jo… After a little bit of confusion, Jo called the waitress over and explained she had ordered gin and tonic, not ginger ale… The waitress explained that they had no gin, so Jo ordered another drink instead… Shortly after her drink arrived another waitress appeared, she apologised for the first waitress and explained that they did, in fact, have some gin… So Jo ordered another gin and tonic… A few minutes later the first waitress appeared again with a glass of ice and another bottle of ginger ale… More confusion and a bit of laughter from the rest of us followed before the second waitress appeared again to try and sort things out… Eventually, Jo did get her gin and tonic… A drink Jo struggled to drink on the first attempt being as she mistook a stirrer in her glass for a straw…Food was ordered and enjoyed, conversation was had and suddenly what was supposed to be an early night turned into us being the last four people in the restaurant… We left the restaurant and headed toward Queen Bee, I expected the place to be empty but it was still pretty full with a mix of people celebrating the birthday of the man from Jo’s work and Thai’s… We walked in and Jo was immediately greeted by some of the staff, I love Queen Bee, it’s a bar I don’t visit enough… But every time we do visit we get greeted warmly… We ordered drinks (this round was free due to the birthday boy putting it on his tab) we continued to chat and we had a few more drinks before we went our separate ways and headed home… We’re really lucky to have made so many good friends during our first year here in Bangkok… Our early night had become a bit of a late-night, we got home and went straight to bed, we needed a decent nights sleep as we were heading off to Pattaya in the morning.
We awoke early on Saturday morning, both of us nursing a slight hangover… We didn’t set out as early as we had originally planned, we did manage to get to the bus station in time to catch the mid-day bus tho… So, we weren’t complete failures.
The bus ride was uneventful, our last bus ride to Pattaya include an unplanned stop to change busses as our bus decided to breakdown on the highway… This time, no drama… We were both looking forward to enjoying a night of fireworks and a few drinks in the bars of Pattaya, we booked into our hotel, had some lunch and then had an afternoon nap before heading out into town for the night.
Imagine if you will, a huge public event… Thousands of people, sitting in groups on a beach, everyone enjoying entertainment, everyone eating, drinking… Everyone having fun… Now imagine that event drawing to a close… Now imagine that beach being left pretty much litter-free… Almost every bit of rubbish, every beer can, every fast-food carton picked up and taken to a series of bins on the roadside… Of course, you would be forgiven for thinking “yes, I can imagine a public event… I can even imagine people enjoying themselves… But trying to imagine people cleaning up after themselves? No way.”
Well, folks… It happened... Here in Thailand... Why can’t events worldwide be finished like this? Why do we as humans feel the need to leave every space we inhabit, an absolute pigsty? Walking away from the beach on Saturday night, looking back and seeing it in such a clean state was an absolute joy… I’ll just rewind a little I think… Walking along beach road we were pleased to see the local authorities had chosen to shut the road to traffic, usually, the road would be full of bikes, taxis and baht buses, it was nice to be able to walk along the road without fear of getting run over… The streets were full of people, everyone enjoying the atmosphere, everyone looking forward to the nights' entertainment… We bought a couple of beers from a street seller and made our way to the beach, we paid 40 baht to a street seller for a foil sheet to lay down on the sand, we found a nice spot and sat down amongst the crowd… In front of us was a family, Mom, Dad and two kids… The daughter was asleep by the time we sat down, the son, a toddler was wide awake and was really enjoying himself, dancing to the music and laughing… Behind us was a group of young Thais, they’d been drinking (I presume) for a while and were in good spirits… We finished our beers and soon after the Thais behind us gave us a beer, Jo chatted with them for a while before the fireworks started… The fireworks festival is spread over two days, we chose just to attend on Saturday, next year we will be there for both days… The first displays were amazing, the crowd was a mix of Thai locals and tourists… Most people were sat on the beach, a number of people were standing close to the steel barriers that separated the beach from the seating area that had been set up, this area was full of people with cameras on tripods taking photographs of the fireworks, A blonde-haired girl in a revealing outfit began to make a spectacle of herself by dancing around near the barrier as people were trying to watch the fireworks, someone was pointing a camera at her trying to get the “perfect” picture of her with the fireworks in the background, I’m pretty sure she pissed a lot of people off in pursuit of that bloody picture… The first half of the displays ended and the girl announcing the event introduced a band onto the stage… I didn’t catch the name of the band but I’m guessing they were quite a big deal, lots of young Thai girls sang along to all of their lyrics (I just googled the event and the band was called “Yes’sir Days” )… As did one of the Young Thai lads behind us (the one that gave us beer) he was quite drunk but was having a brilliant time singing the songs as we applauded his efforts… The band played for what felt like an age… To me, every song they played sounded just like the last… The band played well but the lad singing just didn’t have the vocal strength to sing for that period of time live… He’d resorted to getting the crowd to sing the choruses… I was bored and was really happy when they eventually left the stage… The fireworks continued and they were truly amazing… The display from Germany was my favourite, a high energy display set to some brilliant rock music… The Philippines entry was a more laid back affair, the drunk lad behind us thought it was great and needed the world to know so spent a while shouting “I love Philippines!”… But his pronunciation wasn’t quite right so actually shouted “I Love Phili PENIS!” we didn’t correct him… We felt it would be cruel to do so.
The fireworks ended and another band was announced, “25 hours” took to the stage and I have to say they were brilliant… We spent a while on the beach enjoying the music with our Thai drinking buddies, eventually, we left and headed off into the night, every person we saw took their rubbish with them, the beach was left clean… Something that I’m still amazed at.
We ended our night in the rock bar on Pattaya's walking street, it’s a bar we visit every time we come to Pattaya, the staff know us and we were greeted warmly as we walked in… The night became a blur as the drinks flowed… We awoke on Sunday morning, both nursing hangovers… Our plan to get the bus back to Bangkok changed to getting a taxi… We did NOT want to be stuck on a bus with a hangover… Will we ever learn? Probably not…
So until next time…