My 48th birthday party in Koh Phangan – A Thailand paradise

Monday, March 15, 2010

My 48th birthday was a revelation for me, and it was one of the best for making me realise how lucky I was to be alive. Michele and I had been in Thailand for two months, and after starting off in the dirty, disgusting prostitute-driven centre of tourism that is called Pattaya, we had gradually moved ourselves south in search of the real beautiful heart of Thailand.

We next stopped at Hua Hin, which is the home of the King of Thailand, and a very beautiful place it was too. We stayed for a few days. The beach was very refined and sandy. You could see the class of the very expensive visitors that were in the grand hotels along the (very beautiful) beach front, and the restaurants and entertainment along the beach and in the town were extremely welcoming after the fifth-class facilities we had got used to in Pattaya.

We left our luggage there while we went further south to renew our visas in Malaysia, but to be honest we thought we would be returning to stay in Hua Hin in the end. I don’t even remember who I spoke to, but I think it was a very old American man at a train station in Malaysia, and he told me about the island of Koh Phangan, beside the tourist spot of Koh Samui. He made it sound so paradise-like, I immediately told Michele that we had to look there first before deciding which was the best place to stay for the long haul.

We only stayed in Kuala Lumpa for a few days. We were in a top class hotel (paying peanuts) but the whole way of life and the massive difference between the haves and the have-nots didn’t much appeal to us, So we went back to Thailand, and specifically Koh Phangan.

We weren’t disappointed. It was beautiful. I had spent a few hours on the internet in Malaysia doing some research, and had decided on a place called “Rainbow”, because I liked the pictures, the prices were good, and it was run by an Australian bloke with a Thai wife.

We got ourselves a beach hut, and two weeks later it was my birthday! We met a few people that were on long-term holidays at Rainbow, and by the time my birthday came along, we had a little group of friends that wanted to come out with us to celebrate.

There was a young American lad called Liam. He was really into the spiritual side of Thailand, and was doing massage lessons with a local spiritual guru. Then there was Lasse, a Swedish guitarist, who tried to get to Koh Phangnan every year. Ron was a Canadian that was also not on his first visit, and seemed to be going through a small depression, probably because he knew he was going home soon. These three, plus me and Michele, started on the celebrations in the afternoon.

The bar at Rainbow was literally yards from the sea, and I sat there during the day whilst doing my work on the internet. You couldn’t possibly hope for a better view while working in the office. So about four o’clock I put my computer away and we all gathered around the table.

I brought out my bottle of Absolut vodka which Michele had kindly got me as one of my presents, and we had a small toast to my 48 years, joined by the Aussie “landlord”, Martin, and washed it down with a few cold beers. We then all got on our mopeds and went to the main town of Tong Sala, where we had got off the ferry when we arrived, and found ourselves a popular seafood bar beside the beach.

The meal went splendidly, and we put the world to rights while knocking back a few more beers. I had a pizza as I’m a vegetarian, but the others had been fishing together (including Michele), so shared some big local fish dish.

We were all pleasantly warmed up by then, and I was dying to introduce them to this small bar I had heard about which was made purely out of driftwood. It was still quite early so we were the only ones in there. It was fascinating, with shells and fishing nets strewn about the bar, which was literally made of driftwood! There were fish in pools in the bathroom, and me and Michele sat on fishnets which were made into hammock-like seats.

First we started off with tequila shots, and then each of us had to choose a shot from the bar before we moved on to the next venue. We were aiming for “Bar street” and our next task was to find a pool table for a few games. We were joined by an English couple that we had been introduced to through a friend in Spain. I won all the games (or they let me win because it was my birthday!) until Ron came good in the last game and knocked me off.

By then we were now in a decidedly merry mood, and the bar was shutting at 11pm, so we thought it prudent to get us, and our mopeds, a bit closer to home before indulging too much.

About a mile from the Rainbow it started to rain, and when I say rain I mean RAIN! so we pulled into one of the tourist bars on the side of the road. The girlies were very friendly and we all got beers and chatted to the lovely Thai “good-time-girls” as they kept the beers coming..

We told them it was my birthday and the whole bar joined in a chorus of “Happy Birthday” for me, which was nice! One of the girls had taken a liking to Liam, who was fending her off as politely as possible, but when she rolled a massive joint for us he became much more cosy with her.

Michele and I couldn’t resist a duet of “Singing in the Rain” as we dodged in and out of the pouring rain and the puddles, and I knew this wasn’t going to be a birthday I would forget in a hurry!

The night went on, and suddenly it wasn’t my birthday any more (well not in Thailand). The rain died down and the bar looked like they were finishing up for the night, so we saddled back up and made our way back to the Rainbow.

Although the bar was closed (well it was about 3 am.!), we all regrouped around the table again. I got out the rest of the Absolut vodka, and Larrson got his guitar out. He was extremely good (okay he was a professional) and most of his repertoire were English songs, so we sang and talked for another couple of hours, with the sound of the waves in the background as the tide came in, which it did early every morning.

Gradually Liam and Ron staggered off to their huts, and the rest of us didn’t last much longer, but I didn’t want this brilliant night to end, and walked over to my hammock outside our hut while Michele went to bed. I lay there listening to the waves and watching the early fishing boats go out, and I was wishing that every birthday could be just like this one!

Hi, I am an experienced writer and contribute to many websites.
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