Corey and I met our friend Fon at one of our local hotel bars on the quiet end of Bangla Road for a little bit of pre-func imbibing. My cousin Sarah and her two friends were also in Phuket and we had hopes to meet up with them again a bit later.
Wandering end to end on Bangla Road during high season is always a bit of a challenge but on NYE it is a gauntlet that involves pinging off of drunks like a pin ball and side stepping colourful streams of Silly String. Why were we doing this? Of course, it involved fireworks, on the beach. If fireworks are involved, I am usually compelled to watch them. We had been advised that Patong Beach had a firework show at midnight... this is true but it was, of course, 1000x crazier than that.
First off, I must digress to a bit earlier in the evening. Corey and I met Sarah and girls for a quick 'Hello' at the Hard Rock Cafe, where they were having dinner. We had parked our motorbike a bit down the road and took a short cut through the "Aussie Bar" section of Patong. I really cannot explain this well but basically there are some streets that are pedestrian (and a few motorbikes) only, lined with tiki bar style shacks littered with Aussies and Kiwis doing shots. To attract customers, each shack tries to be louder than the other and offer cheaper shots. There are also tree stumps at each shack where the local bar girls/boys? bet the drinkers how many hammer strikes it would take them to drive a large gauge nail into a block of wood. I couldn't bear to watch this as I'm quite sure Patong hospitals see more than one crushed finger, possibly hand, a night from this bar game. In addition to the usual craziness down these lanes, people were actually setting off serious fireworks. It was beautiful but a bit frightening at the same time. Although it seemed the common revellers were drinking hard enough to forget they ever attended this grand party, we paced ourselves.
So back to the promised beach fireworks... we made it down Bangla Road onto the sand to welcome in the New Year. What an amazing spectacle! Starting prior to midnight and continuing for no less than 30 minutes, fireworks were constantly blasted off from areas up and down the entire crescent of Patong beach. In addition, the Aussie bar fireworks continued to skyrocket up from a few blocks inland. To add to the beauty, there were also sky lanterns being set free into the night sky.
It was time to head home so we said our goodbyes. Corey and I hopped on our motor bike back to Kathu. We had promised to stop by our friend Min's bar. I will have to do a separate blog about this space as it is more than unique. I had almost hoped no one would be up as 3 am was fast approaching, but as we pulled up, Min and a few diehards were there all drinking local Thai booze, eating homemade soup, and singing karaoke. We of course, had to stay for a chat, a smile, and a toast or two.