Friday, May 18, 2012

Party Time With The Beach Boys

Spirits to venerate on the left share space with spirits to imbibe on the right. An interesting juxtaposition, I think.

Placing a customer's umbrella
on Dongtan Beach
One can't have too many friends, I like to say; just too many to keep up with sometimes. The second portion of that thought is more often the case for me when visiting Thailand. Even on my first visit I'd been in email contact with four or five folks that I was interested in meeting, and there's rarely much of anything faster to separate the sincere from the insincere than a face to face conversation - but that's another story.

I only mention this because I tend to overbook my time there, and while I think longingly (and long) in advance about days in the shade on the beach with a good book, those days are far and few between. This last trip I only made time for two partial days in nearly a month to simply rest on the beach, which tells me it's something I need to put more effort into next time.

Beers on the beach.  Memories of my free-spirited youth!

My raised glass gets a smile
of acknowledgement 
My suggestion to those of you lucky enough to be planning a trip there anytime soon would be to leave plenty of slack for the inevitable probability of wanting to visit, see or try something that you hadn't expected to. The old saying "any job expands to fill the time allotted for it" applies in this situation, too. Trust me.

While sitting one afternoon, finishing the lunch I believe was brought in by the chair concessionaires from Tui's Place (nice food there - reasonably priced, too) two guys planted in chairs two rows ahead of me were having beers and chatting, just as friends would do most anywhere in such a setting.  I watched them fool with their hair between pulls off of their bottles with more than a slight twinge of nostalgia for times when I'd have been in the middle of such a scene and not merely watching from a sober distance.

All that and a bag of chips, as the saying goes

Every so often they'd call out to a passer-by walking along the shoreline in front of them, and although I couldn't understand the Thai it was evidently pleasant; the walkers would inevitably smile, laugh and/or give them a "thumbs up" signal.

The breeze in off of the gulf was gentle and refreshing, and despite the view my eyes closed a number of times while I lay my head back and relaxed, relishing the rest time.

One of the guys had his ear buds in, bobbing his head to the beat  from his MP3 player while listening, and he'd take one out to talk only when his friend reached over and tapped his arm to get his attention. They seemed to be waiting for others, because one of them kept looking back over his right shoulder as if to check for an arrival.

They didn't have to wait very long.

A short while later, several more young men came traipsing down the aisle past me to my right, their feet spraying sand onto posts and vacant chairs with the whisper only sand seems to make.

They snuck up behind their seated friends and, reaching out as they bent over, grabbed their shoulders, making them jump and shout with surprise. After they'd gotten that desired reaction they all laughed and greeted the others with a camaraderie you'd expect among friends. They all seemed genuinely happy to be together for the afternoon, and they began chattering rapid-fire between themselves almost immediately.

One of the new arrivals held up a bottle of 100 Pipers, a scotch widely available in Thailand, and a cheer of approval rose from the group; all of them glad to see the party ready to begin in earnest.

100 Pipers appears to be somewhat of a staple of life for some, by the number of empties you're likely to see being hauled out from clubs if you're out walking in the daytime as the trash is being dumped. Never was much of a scotch drinker myself, but I'm told it's adequate and affordable.

It was certainly adequate for the boys that day. They had it open in a heartbeat and were pouring themselves a few fingers' worth in their glasses without ice, topping it off with Coca-cola. Soon they were well into the bottle, and as the level quickly began to drop they danced and laughed among themselves, as did a couple of young women who'd also arrived soon after the 100 Pipers did.

A ways further into the bottle
It soon became apparent that they'd probably had enough to drink, and as their movements became more animated and their voices a bit louder while they swayed now from scotch more than the music my beach time was running out, and I had to gather my things and head back to my hotel to prepare for a banquet dinner that evening.

As I often try to do I walked over and asked if I could email the re-sized pictures to anyone. A couple of them gladly accepted, and I've since sent them along. Both of them replied to say thank you, and that made for a fine ending to the experience, I thought.

So, again I'd suggest: leave yourself some slack in your schedules. You never know what might happen when you're least expecting it.


Anonymous said...

Very nice commentary and very pleasant pictures. Nice touch, sending them copies.
Counting the weeks down now!!

khunbaobao said...

these sorts of experiences are available to anyone willing to be aware and explore a short ways beyond the normal realm of the tourist areas. Come to think of it, I met a woman once by chance at the Grand Palace who was a story all by herself. Maybe that one will appear here some time.

Sometimes I fall into thinking these aren't special memories for anyone but myself, but I know I enjoy reading the same sort of things from others, and since I'm not targeting any specific niche of readers I'm allowed to have a little wider variety of posts than some sites, I suppose. It's the main reason I started this instead of posting the stories on forums.

Thanks for the comment, and have a great trip. Look beyond and have a better one!

ChristianPFC said...

I have similar problems (not enough time to meet all friends), and yet I am still bringing a book with me, because there might be time to read some pages (usually there is not).

Can you add me to your mailing list for boys on the beach pictures? (joke)

Anonymous said...

Stumbled upon your page today and it put a smile on my face. I just moved back to the states after living and working in Bangkok for ten years. I loved my trips to Dongtan Beach. Actually I know a couple of the guys in your photos! I'm happy to be home, of course... but a part of me will always be in Thailand. I'm planning a holiday in Janauary. I hope to see my friend, Nat... the guy with the bleached streak in his hair and drinking the 100 Pipers when I get down to Pattaya. Thanks for the good memories!

khunbaobao said...

I'm glad the post sparked some happy memories of your times in Thailand!

Thanks for the comment... I hope you'll join in here again.