To say that we as a couple are “party animals” would be a lie and whilst we both enjoy a few drinks, I would much rather choose a pub over a club/bar any day of the week especially if there is wine and cheese involved (though beer is my favorite) and Michelle would too (minus the beer of course!)
Now that you know us a little better (if you didn’t already) you will know that our expectations and hopes for New Years Eve were pretty relaxed and due to our itinerary we found ourselves in the little town of Sukhothai.
On the bus up from Ayutthaya we briefly met a lovely couple from Germany called Karsten and Simone, who had unluckily just missed the last tickets on the bus we were getting and had to wait another hour after we had left.
Six hours later as we got off our bus we bumped into Karsten and Simone again and although their bus was an hour behind ours they managed to somehow get to Sukhothai before us – now that is German efficiency! We laughed about the current Bus situation and attempted to haggle a cheaper deal into the old town together – strength in numbers and all that. After 10 minutes or so of arguing over the price with our driver Karsten pointed out that we were actually arguing over something like a pound per person, we still got a discount and after a few laughs and bumps on the “Truck Truck” (not to be confused with Tuk Tuk)… it’s basically a truck with seats in the back… we suggested to meet up in town and see what New Years would bring us in Sukhothai.
We started in a little restaurant along the main road, that is actually all there is in the old town of Sukhothai but believe me it’s a lot better than the New Town. We ate some food, squeezed in a couple of Chang’s before we were informed that the place was closing at nine o’clock… ouch.
This left one thing… a local event that we walked past earlier, at dinner we heard the firework display but it was only 8.30 at that point and we were just eating our food, so we didn’t pay much attention.
We walked over and saw a concert? A party? A fete? A kind of amalgamation of all three, we got a table at the back of the field in the corner almost tip toeing our way to the table as we the outsiders may not be welcomed. We soon realised that they didn’t care and Karsten and I went to get some beers from the 7 eleven – which is never far away in this country.
The night involved a few different singers rotating after a couple of songs to save their voices and rather than sing they seemed to shriek along to some kind of modern Thai music. Luckily for us (the audience) they also had backing dancers who at times actually danced until one of them started to “Bump and Grind” and then naturally the chorus would follow suit. They kind of reminded me of the little blonde from South Park who bends over and shakes her bottom as a dance move… it was that sophisticated. My favorite dancer was the “guy” who was probably the prettiest of the girls as well.
The entertainment was broken up by a raffle where people were winning mattresses, wardrobes and other large furnishings that would be near on impossible to carry home… it was quite an obscure event for us “Westerners” and an older Dutch couple’s faces were perfect in expressing the amusement and bemusement we were all experiencing. I just wish I took a photo of them, we offered them protection and some damn good company as we saw them walking hand in hand like two lost puppies walking through a Korean Butchers.
The moment had come. Well… it was ten minutes to go till 2013 would come into our lives and the Zombies would come from beneath the ground and initiate the beginning of the apocalypse. It was at this precise moment that all of the local Thai’s that had come out to entertain the New Year stood up and headed home. The music stopped and we along with Karsten, Simone and the scared Dutch couple looked even more bemused than we had been the whole night, Midnight approached and we stood up, smiled, laughed (even cried) and we celebrated the start of an exciting year ahead.
The music came back on and to Simone’s credit, she led us all to the dance floor – we all followed in fear of being left alone and had a good dance to much of the locals delight.
I’ve had many different experiences when it comes to New Years Eve and looking back I can’t say I’ve had a more spontaneous or memorable evening as the one we spent in Sukhothai. It’s one I’m sure none of us will forget and I must say we were very lucky to have met Karsten and Simone.