And what a New Year’s it was. We walked down to the beach, which I thought was called Ao Nang. Turns out it goes by much longer name, which I can only remember as starting with an N. Luckily, they planned a huge fireworks show on this side of the beach that was set off from a big boat about 100m off shore. Still feeling a bit strange from the digestion acrobatics performed the night before, I took it a bit slow.
We had a drink at a bar stand on the beach. I think the foreigners in the area high-tailed it to a more happening destination for the night, since we were surrounded by mostly Thai vacationers until midnight. I preferred to keep it a little more low-key and less Cancun-esque however, so it worked out perfect. Two hours before midnight, we tried and failed to eat at a restaurant that had just opened and instead opted for crappy snacks from a minimart and bought a couple of beers to bring to the beach. Admittedly not the best choice for my precarious stomach situation, but the options were few.
We strategically set up right next to a Thai fam who had 4 mosquitos coils going and watched as more and more people poured in around us on the shore. Here, we found out what the fire specks in the sky were that we saw during our walk down to the beach. Although I was hoping for aliens, they turned out to be lucky paper lanterns that people set off by flame. Okay, not exactly eco-friendly and all that, but as the night went on people set off more and more, which set an incredibly surreal and gorgeous sight in the sky against an almost-full moon. We spent the next hour or so ‘til midnight watching people light them up and set them off. I guess you’re supposed to make a wish or something whimsical like that, so it was evilly entertaining to watch some of these dashed dream balloons take a nose dive to the ocean before catching enough wind into the sky. One man stood for a solid 10-min, with pained expression and cramped arms, waiting for his little dream balloon to take off. I stopped paying attention for a while and five minutes later, his spot on the sand was empty and a new paper pile listlessly floated off shore. I wondered what wish wasn’t worth the wait. Grant and I indulged in the tourist heart-clap trap and bought one of our own. As I was frantically trying to hone down in my head what exactly I wanted as it took off, I debated between health or grad school acceptance. A wish can always be better wished five minutes after such a moment.
More and more people set up near us as it neared midnight. In the last hour, tiny kids set off roman candles and big-uns whizzed through the sky to create what any public place in the US would deem an extreme fire hazard. Nevertheless, gorgeous. A minute to 2010, the fireworks from the boat began shooting off. Sitting in the sand, mosquito-repelled, sipping a beer and watching little wishes disappear in the sky was not a bad way to listen and join in with the 5-second countdown to a new year.
We stuck around for another 15 minutes and headed back in the direction of the bungalows. On the way, we stopped by a tiki-looking bar that had a free fire dancing show. Guys were crazy. One of dancers’ head freaking caught on fire during his dance. We ate dinner at this place today and same guy showed us a gnarled burn mark all around his bicep from the night before. I’m guessing he was a little drunk. Mishaps aside, it was an incredible show and an awesome end to the night.
Tomorrow we head out from Krabi to Kho Lanta, an island off southern Thailand. Looking forward to staying healthy and turning on some color in my blinding complexion from the beach. Off I go.
And of course, happy new year to all my friends and family. I’m sure there’s a little floatie piece of paper in the sky for each and every one of you to wish on once. Righhhht now.
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