Here we are once again having been encouraged by the response emails to our previous scribe.
The end of 2012 arrived. Earlier in the day I finally concluded that I had to terminate my work services to the Consultancy and resigned with immediate effect. The next matter in hand was to start to prepare the Main Course contribution for the New Year Party. Nothing too elaborate just a simple Fish Pie topped with Filo Pastry and a Fresh Crispy Salad. This proved to be quite the ticket having eaten more that handsomely over the Christmas period.
You may recall my comments concerning the different cultural activities over the Christmas period. One of our treats was Boxing Day which I failed to mention earlier. Our Electric was turned off for routine maintenance from 10.00 am until 16.00 hours. ‘Boxing Day’ as I said just a normal working day out here for Thais. My point of reminding you of the lack of Christmas Holiday spirit was to advise you of the subsequent contrast and attitude to New Year.
It is and was a Holiday. Starting end of Friday everything went into celebration mode for four days ! Living on the coast as we do we were suddenly aware of the traffic and it seemed Bangkok was draining of populace as they all descended for Beach parties and the like. The Pattaya Countdown Party had started on the 25th with concerts and markets and festivals all focusing around Bali Hai Pier. Pattaya North Road was filled one day from top to bottom with Buddhist Monks receiving alms. Food Supermarkets were teeming with the new arrivals as they opened up their holiday apartments ready to party!. All the restaurants some closed for the four days as their staff abandoned them to join family in various parts of the country and the remaining restaurants braced themselves for the deluge of visitors.
New Year Eve daytime we left the Condominium to pop down the road for a quick light lunch at a Noodle Shop. They were closed and it had taken us 20 minutes to travel what would normally take us less than 5 minutes. Turning onto the beach front and having taken a further 30 minutes to travel less than 500 yards a decision to return home and create something from the fridge seemed and proved to be the best option. Car loads – bus loads and truck loads of people – double/treble parked on the beach front and enjoying food and sunshine as well as blue skies and sea. Thai hospitality at its best ‘Eating with Friends and Family’
We confined ourselves to home and of course I prepared our food contribution for the evening. Showered and dressed off we trundled about 20.30 hours headed for dear friend Tony’s appt. Unsure what traffic we might encounter we decided to use the little back roads. As it happened the traffic was quite light much to our joy. Tony was ready for us – Table laid – oven on and nibbles and drinks ready to go. The evening a cooling breeze making it very pleasant and out on his balcony we could already see and feel the growing fervor for midnight. Trying to describe such revelry is quite hard having spent so many new years in London. However with the warm night air and almost every restaurant – hotel and beach vendor competing to supply their customers with the best NY experience is quite awesome. Paper lanterns and fireworks take off into the dark sky, this year being gently nudged out to sea with the cool breeze almost from the time the sun pops down over the horizon like a lozenge popping into an envelope. In the darkness little green lights of the fishing boats bob on the sea horizon and you see the trails of lanterns upwardly drifting, creating a lighted staircase to heaven.
We were in the heart of Jomtien. At 23.30 we ascended to the 27th Floor and then walked up to the 28th to the roof garden. The building frontage on the seafront, we had stunning views on the one side the Bay of Pattaya and inland to Huay Yai and on the other the Bay of Jomtien stretching to Sattahip. The overture to the evening had already been played and now the excitement of the most important part of the evening was starting to build. There were fireworks and lanterns filling the sky in every corner you could see and as far as you could see. Then just as midnight struck and I had thought there could not possibly be any fireworks left to hail the New Year a completely new barrage took to the sky – bigger and even more spectacular than had previously been seen. Even at 00.45 they were still going as we left the roof to return to the apartment and drink our champagne toast to 2013. So at this point it seems appropriate to wish you a Very Happy and Healthy 2013. I did share one video of the fireworks on Facebook taken overlooking the Bay of Jomtien. Unfortunately the midnight barrage video had a few to may expletives of aghast joy at the spectacle to be shared so perhaps a private viewing on my return would be more appropriate – apologies…….
So to 2013. A friend from Bangkok joined us in Jomtien, staying in his apartment at Lalana here. I pursued my usual routine of walking and pottering around meeting friends for coffee or luncheon or cruising the shops – reading or swimming – sitting by the pool. Suppers, we joined forces and chatted about our exploits of the day.
One delight was to finally meet a very long standing friend of Lam’s and her husband. They were here for the holiday. Pi Daeng now lives in New York and works for the UN and her husband Philip a Park Avenue, New York senior partner lawyer. Having heard so much about them we spent two nights together over supper chatting about our varied lives and experiences promising to stay more closely in touch.
Our friend from Bangkok left and I had invited some other friends to join us for supper at home – a late afternoon Sunday Brunch. We don’t like eating late or too heavy. Table laid and ready for their arrival at 17.30 we learnt that another friend was imminently about to arrive from Bangkok and wanted us to meet up. Table re-laid and an extra cover added we gathered. Mexican Crab and Prawn Bloody Mary Cocktail – Farmhouse Chicken & Vegetable Pie topped with a Crispy Filo topping. Roasted Pumpkin and Carmelised Onion and Garlic. Butterscotch Tiramisu. Copious amounts of wine and then off to the Cabaret in Jomtien – not the planned early night – totally impromptu and much enjoyed by all. With a follow up gathering the next morning for luncheon to compare our health status what with the wine – late night and lack of sleep.
I was also to discover the arrival of a friend from UK in Pattaya for a couple of days requesting to meet up. Afternoon tea and a quick idiots tour of the area and home for a quiet evening at home and a simple chicken sandwich and so to bed.
I have come to some interesting conclusions as 2012 closes. I have enjoyed some interesting discussions and debates with many friends. Some qualified in the areas of analysis and some with good experiences of life. This with open minds and a desire to learn and devour as much about the universe as possible. Some areas still to be explored – some to never look at and others to just walk away from and seek another path.
I look forward to 2013 with further adventures whether it is holding your hand – walking by your side or simply sharing what we have done separately over a glass of wine and some food.
Hugs as always until the next time.