Saturday, November 24, 2007

Daily Report: Loy Krathong Celebrations

Epril and I in our traditional
Thai outfits during Loy Krathong.
Today was Loy Krathong, my favorite holiday in Thailand. The day is one part Valentines day (you go down to the water's edge with your lover and launch a little floating gimcrack of flowers, candles, and incense coupled with prayers and hopes for good fortune over the next year, and riddance of the bad fortune from the past), Halloween (you get dressed up in traditional Thai costumes, with girls wearing spangled dresses and exotic bouffants adorned with flowers and crowns), and the Fourth of July (as down at the beach, the yobs are loaded down with Mekhong rum and rockets, while those more grounded in the tradition step onto the sand in order to launch flying votive candle-powered hot-air balloons into the night sky).

My day started off with a bit of work, and then it was out with Epril to stop at the costume store to pick up Epril's dress and jewelry for the evening, then a quick stop for lunch, and then back home for a holiday afternoon with no work. At 3:30, I sent Epril with Maid Go out to the stylist for Epril's 4:00 makeup and hair appointment. Unfortunately, the stylist was severely backed up, and Epril didn't return back home until 6:00... 30 minutes late for cocktails at Chris's house with Geoff and his crowd.

A little kid's costume contest out
at Mabprachan lake was adorable to
Fortunately, there was still time to join everyone at Mabprachan lake at sunset to float our Kratong (and our wishes... and a shiny 5-baht coin as an offering) out onto the water. Epril and I bought a large boat-shaped Krathong covered with pretty flowers, which we sailed from a dock. Honey Mae and Miss Lucky joined us, and also floated their Krathongs.

Epril enjoying the show at the
Marriott's Loy Krathong party.
Then, Epril and I rode (slowly, so as not to ruin Epril's hair) on my motorcycle back 10 miles to Pattaya, to attend our 8:00 reservation at the Marriott's Loy Krathong celebration. The event was held out in the sculpted gardens under the light of giant gas-powered torch towers and beautiful statuary, and more tropical foliage than you could appreciate in a lifetime, surrounding a central grand pool beautifully lit with a giant Krathong floating in the middle.

Traditional dancing during the
Loy Krathong celebration.
The entertainment was spectacular, with traditional Thai dancing from a troupe that was easily the best I had ever seen. They performed four different dances, representing the south, central, north, and east of Thailand. (I think the girls are either double-jointed or mutilated at an early age in order for the fingers on their hands to quite literally bend backwards at the joints in a most fascinating/grotesque fashion.)

The food for the evening was buffet style, and you walked through the gardens to discover the various food pavilions, each serving Thai food from a different region of the country... South, Central, North, or East. The food was spectacular, and I spent most of my time at the Southern stand, loading up on lobster.

The Marriott puts on this same show every year, and it really is lovely. However, with a food bill of 3,900 baht, and a drink bill of 700 baht for 4 drinks — a total of 4,600 baht ($140) for 2 people — I really can't recommend it.After dinner, it was out to Jeff's apartment at the Royal Cliff condos overlooking Pattaya Bay, where we sat and had drinks, and watched the fireworks exploding up and down Pattaya Bay, from the Dusit Resort in the north, to Bali Hai pier in the south. It was patently obvious from not only the complete lack of traffic I experienced driving from the Marriott to Jeff's, but also a sky generally empty of fireworks and flying krathongs that this year's Loy Krathong was generally not well-attended by the Thai folks... who are the source of most of the Loy Krathong paraphernalia in the sky.

The band at Zab is awesome, and play
mostly oldies, with Elvis making a
cameo appearance.
From there, it was off to a Walking Street jam-packed with tourists, where Epril and I stopped by Champion for a drink with Stan and Jew, and then rejoined Jeff and his lady friend Lee for a stroll down Walking Street to the old mainstay of the promenade, Zab, where we watched the same Elvis impersonator as we saw at the Boat House lead one of Pattaya's best live bands, including 2 of the cutest and most talented Thai girls you are going to come across in Pattaya.

It was 1:30 when we finally decided to call it a night, and just as well: In Pattaya, far too many people become far too stupid after midnight for the average person like myself to tolerate. So, by 2:00, Epril and I were home, Epril washed off the thick layers of makeup, while I sussed out how to undo the feat of engineering that was keeping Epril's hair in place. We then climbed into bed, quite happy and exhausted from a wonderful day.


Richard said...

A nicely written article and very informative. I finally got to "see" your sport coat from the posted pictures. Nice.
10 miles North or South to celebrate the festival?
You have created a nice life style for yourself in Pattaya, and Epril is a beautiful woman.
How did you meet all your friends?

Brunty said...

Great post Jil.

It's really good to see and hear you are so happy.

From the way you have written since returning from what you called your project, all has seemed great.

All the best to the both of you.

I am the same as you but I am more scraed to venture out much after 10pm here.

Way too mnay idiots.

Jil In Pattaya said...

Richard: 10 miles West actually.

How did I meet my friends? How does anyone meet friends? Here and there, really.