New Year’s eve spent in down south in Krabi in a sleepy little beach town. There were several events along the beach. We took a pass on the masquerade ball-type event and opted for the more chill party offering live music, some traditional Thai dancing, a fire show and fireworks.
The masquerade ball was right next door. Both were outdoors. Both had equally average sound systems. It was clear that there was no coordination between the two venues. As a result there is a duel. One side amps up the volume, the other side matches or exceeds.
Our chill live music is superseded by the traditional Thai music next door. There is a four hour battle.
We get our own traditional Thai dance show. It coincides with a raffle drawing next door. Traditional music here is pleasant enough, but when played at distorted levels it sounds like squeezed cat in heat running it’s nails down a blackboard. I don’t have a sample, but here is a video of a more modern dance number.
My apartment living room is about 15 yards long. I will speak now in terms of length of living rooms.
One hour before midnight the intensity builds. The smoking area is Crates of professional grade fireworks are hauled out and placed about 2 living room lengths away from us by men in shorts and flip flops. Nary a fire extinguisher in sight. People are dancing and smoking with in a living room length away. A flaming sky lantern floats past, struggling to gain altitude in the hot and humid air.
Forty five minutes before midnight, a fire show starts. The music gets louder. A man lights steel balls soaked in flammable fluid and whirls them around dervish-like. He is one living room length away. On at least one occasion he miscalculates and whacks his face with a flaming metal orb. Thankfully, he does not combust. He shakes it off.
As the hour approaches, the emcees from both events duel to build excitement. Rattling off the time. Raffling some prizes. Encouraging us to all buy drinks for the celebration. The volume is increased, yet again. The staff have behind the crowd. I think they must want to see the fireworks. I ignore the fact that they are all holding things in their hands.
A couple of drunken revellers take over the stage. Doing the twist on the stage. Someone lets off a long strand of fireworks. It drowns out the emcees who are trying to countdown to midnight.
5…4…3…2…1…. Boom. The fireworks launch just 2 living room lengths away and explode in a low overhead apogee. “Eye of the Tiger” blares from one set of speakers. “The Final Countdown” from another set.
Something lands on my arm! SHAZAM! Was that flaming embers?!?! NO! Silly string is raining down from above. Launched by the staff into the air.
On and on it goes. So, so, so dang loud!!! Couples inch up to the launch point. Striving to get their picture taken with launching and streaking mortars in the background.
For extra effect an 8 foot bonfire is lit and is soon roaring into the air, adding to the heat. Of course, why not?
15 minutes after midnight, the music is dialed back to a humane level. The remaining straggling fireworks are being launched manually. More sky lanterns. Crowds laughing and talking louder now that they’re deaf.
I turned in to get a good night’s rest to start the new year.