New Years Eve In Bangkok
December 31, 2015
It’s New Years Eve in Bangkok, and around the world I guess. The plan tonight is best described as vague but hopefully it doesn’t get too wild because I’m still not feeling great. Lee expressed some concerns about going into the major parts of the city. She thinks it might be a target for terrorist activity. Maybe I’m stupid to not be afraid and I guess only time will tell but I still feel less safe in America than I have nearly this entire trip. We’ve got a whole day ahead of us before the New Years Eve festivities start so apparently the plan for the day then is just to run around and explore a little bit.
We went to the metro station, which was just across the street from our hotel, and spent 15 minutes trying to find out where we were even going and how to get tickets there. We ended up in some random part of town trying to find the Jim Thompson flagship store, which is name brand silk stuff apparently. When we got there Adam and I exchanged glances, this was clearly not our cup of tea. Together we went next door to the bar where we sat for a couple hours until everyone else eventually made their way over. I got to know Adam a little better which is nice at least. We’ve been sticking together more on this leg of the trip because Amy and the girls are all obviously family. Adam and I are essentially family but we're more so just along for the ride.
We then went back to the hotel to kill time until we figured out a plan for the night. We all took showers, Lee did our hair, and we put on the few nice clothes we had. Backpacking life does not accommodate fancy outings very well. Luckily I had my favorite blue dress which, #1 has pockets and #2 rolls up really tightly to fit in my bag.
By 7:30 we decided to go get dinner. We went down a floor in our hotel to the Japanese restaurant. It was super cute. I got an avocado roll and some vegetable noodle stir-fry. It was all really good and the perfect kind of meal before a night of drinking. After dinner we got back on the metro to head into the city so we could find Tony and Adrian, backpackers from Sweden the girls had met earlier in their travels, in China I believe. Mary is in love with Tony but hasn’t confessed this to him yet. It’s complicated, as they have plans to work and live together in a few months in New Zealand.
I’m the only one that gets cell service outside of the hotel, thanks T-mobile. So the boys sent me the name of the bar where we could meet them “Silk Bar.” We took a taxi as far as possible but then the streets got too backed up and we got out to walk. Bangkok is a smelly place. Everything smelled like sewer and everywhere we went was packed with people. We finally made it onto a street lined with bars. They had set up a makeshift New Years celebration and there was security at the entrance to the street, half-heartedly checking people’s bags. We shuffled through literally thousands of people down the crowded street, which was lined with vendors selling everything from tarantula kabobs to light up bunny ears and silly string. A few blocks down we finally found Silk Bar, where the Swedes were waiting at a big table for us.
*I am keeping my original travel journal in a locked box where my children and grandma will never be able to access it. Thus, some of the original contents from this night have been altered for this blog.
In essence, the boys had taken out 20,000 baht for the evening, (over $500 USD) and they intended on spending it, which meant all my expenses were covered. Everyone shared a 5-liter beer tower, while I got a vodka and red bull bucket. The description “bucket” on the menu was not misleading. It was a children’s sand castle bucket completely filled with vodka and red bull. I drank two of them.
Around midnight people began to flood out of the bars and into the street. Our group followed suit. The boys bought cans of silly string from the street venders and we sprayed them up in the air and at each other’s faces as small fireworks explode in the sky. It was a great celebration, but our night was only just getting started. I spent some time talking to a man named David; he was a solo traveler from Sydney Australia. He didn’t come with us to the next bar which was underground and called “Lava”, probably because of the red lighting inside, though he did give me a kiss on the cheek and saying something along the lines of “It was great chattin’ with ya, have loads of fun tonight,” before departing.
At Lava they stamp your hand upon entry, I inexplicably got my face stamped instead. I have no way of knowing if this was upon my instruction (which is likely) or how it happened. The night from here on out was a blur. But once we left Lava the street had become extremely crowded. We had to lock arms and take baby steps to make it through. At some point, probably around 3am, the police started sweeping the streets trying to clear people out. I think our plan at this point was to head back to the hotel but when we came across a tattoo shop, surprise, the plan spontaneously changed. The guys who owned it were standing outside smoking and they basically reopened for us and we went upstairs. Not long after we entered I fell asleep on a couch. When I woke up it was time to leave. Apparently during my nap the girls had played cards with some Thai gangsters, smoked, and gotten tattooed. When we walked outside the sun was up. Adam looked at his phone and had us guess what time it was. My guess was the closest, I guessed 5:30, really it was 6:30. We were out of money but the boys gave us some to get a tuk tuk home. Lee haggled relentlessly with the driver before they settled on a price and we all got in.
During dinner we had all agreed to not stay out very late, but by the time we made it back to our rooms it was after 7am. I washed my feet, which were black with god knows what, and got into bed.