New Year's Eve in Bangkok


Sometimes the best parties are the ones that you don't plan. 

New Year's Eve is one of the most anticipated parties of the year for many people. As laissez-faire as we are, Ian and I still male some efforts to plan it with friends, even if it would be a quiet night with some takeaways and a couple of movies. 

This year, we didn't make it to our friends' house, though. We both got such a bad cold. We stayed in, spent time with the family instead, and it turned out very pleasant. Surprise. Surprise! 

It got me to think about our first New Year's Eve together, and a party that we never knew we would stumble into. Such a memory reminds me why we love to roam all year round, with New Year's Eve among its all.   

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When we planned our two-month South-East-Asia travel, Bangkok was not on the top of the must-see list. 

I wasn't keen because I thought Bangkok was another version of Hanoi plus the tourists. Ian himself would rather spend time diving in the Gulf of Thailand or party at Full Moon Party in Koi Samui. He wasn’t into stopping in the busy capital, either. But as it almost always happens to travellers like us, we found ourselves staying in Bangkok for nearly two weeks. 

There were days when we hopelessly told ourselves to get out of its endless shopping malls, exhausted ourselves getting here and there on the Sky trains, and got sick by dodgy street food. Somehow, we remained in Bangkok.

Then it came to New Year’s Eve. We went out, had some food, got drunk and got silly. We kissed at midnight in in a bar we found on Google. It was before the time of FourSquare. 

The kiss was sweet, but I didn't want to stay long in the noisy bar, so we left right after the clock stroke twelve. Staggering back to our place, we found ourselves passing a party on the back of a Tesco. A Thai woman got hold of my hand and dragged us in, pointing at a foreign-looking guy so that we wouldn’t feel too shy. 

Before I could register, I started drinking, eating and partying with them. A dozen of us. In a quiet corner of the bustling Bangkok. 

There were many different stories. A Canadian moved half the globe to be in Bangkok. I couldn't tell whether it is a mid-life crisis or not as the light was dim and I couldn't see the lines on his face. A Thai man in his thirties had a day job in Tesco and an evening one in his small family shop. He hosted the party. A shy Japanese spoke so softly that it was impossible to find out what he was doing in Thailand without breaking a few politeness rules. A transgender. A Vietnamese girl and an English guy. Some wore fashionable clothes. Some wore their uniform from their last shift. Some were quiet. Some chatted away merrily. 

At one point or another, we all danced on the street to Laos’ music. It was a random party. We did silly things. We posed for pictures all holding two-finger peace gesture (or cute Asian girl gesture). We drunk drove to some unknown nearby house because I was desperate to use the toilet. In hindsight, it was rather trusting on my part. On that New Year's Eve, though, we all told stories that we don’t usually share with strangers. 

That was how we spent our first New Year's Eve together: in a quiet corner on a metropolitan, tipsy and care-free, with hearts warmed by the honest people of Bangkok. 

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