A Chase to Celebrate New Year
5…4…3…2…1…Wow! Oh Wow! The noise of the sparkling fireworks crescendoes around us. Vast multitudes of stars burst in the night sky, red, yellow, pink, green, circles of the rainbow expanding with echoing booms. Happy New Year everyone.
Let me go back in time.
Earlier in the afternoon, Tim and I transferred into the Klong San District, got the keys to a fabulous apartment that Laura found, did some food shopping and at about 6 pm the gang arrived; our son George, his fiancee Laura, her Mum, Dad and sister. Christmas presents opened and a quick shower and change, we picked up a couple of cabs to Err, a restaurant of “an urban rustic Thai experience”.
I had read mixed reviews of this place, and when we arrived and saw a half-filled restaurant on New Year’s eve, I had my fingers crossed that it was going to be ok. There was absolutely no need for concern. The service was attentive and friendly, the food came quickly, hot and scrumptious and, of course, the company was superb. We shared plates of crispy salted mackerel rice balls, sour green mango macerated in fish sauce and chilli powder, battered-fired squid amongst other delicious dishes. (Too busy eating and chatting for photos!)
Afterwards, we took a quick detour to see Wat Arun lit up over the other side of the river.
As we were strolling down the lane, one of the waitresses came rushing out. She asked how many GMtini we’d had. One – that was for me. George returned to the restaurant and she gave him 250Bhts back. They had overcharged us and we would have been none the wiser if she hadn’t have run out. How honest is that!
We continued walking along the main street and came to Pak Khlong Flower Market, a place that was on our list to see (yes, I have made a list). There were stands piled high with giant marigolds for the stallholders to make garlands and gift offerings for Buddhist temples, buckets of roses with their blooms covered in protective polystyrene and many other flowers, ready to be sold in the early morning.
We managed to get two tuk-tuks to take us back near to our apartment, after agreeing on a price we zoomed off, with coloured lights flashing in the cab every time the driver braked.
It was hilarious; the drivers were racing down the streets with ours usually in the lead. Occasionally, the other taxi with Laura’s family squeezed in would try and overtake, with hoots of laughter filling the air.
Our taxi drivers parked for us to get off, but when we checked our map to see where to walk, we realised we were even further away to our condominium than we started! They’d taken us to the wrong place. The drivers found it all rather amusing as we piled back in and eventually they dropped us off at Si Phraya Express Boat Pier, which was on the wrong side of the river to us. The bridge had already been closed for pedestrians, so the only thing we could do was to get a boat. Oh well, all part of the excitement.
As we queued for the ferry, Rosie disappeared. No-one could see her, and unfortunately, it meant that we just missed getting on the boat as she returned. Bless her, she was trying to get us all a “queue beer”, but the bars were too packed. Laura’s Mum, Katie and I were at the front of the queue for the next ferry and heard that there were to be no more. My heart sank; Laura had booked our apartment specifically so that we would get a great view of the fireworks. What to do?
We decided to hold fire, the attendant wasn’t shooing us away, and after about 5 minutes, he received a radio call that there would be one more ferry. Hurrah! People were trying to push into the line. Didn’t they realise that we are British? Elbows out, Katie and I held everyone at bay and instructed the rest of the family to get right behind us. The barrier opened and we zoomed down to the pier. Hoards followed and overtook us. Would we get on the ferry?
Katie somehow got into another line from the rest of us. Where was she? The time was 11:40 pm. Were we going to find her? Are we going to get back to the apartment in time?
5…4…3…2…1…Wow! Oh Wow! What a sight! We all made it! The seven of us with Prosecco in hand were on the rooftop, the 32nd floor of our high-rise condo. Rather than looking up into the sky, we were directly in line with the fireworks. Down below we could see the Chao Phraya River where we crossed over and the long barges where the pyrotechnics were being lit.
What a perfect view; what a perfect time we had with our son George, fiancée Laura, her Mum, Dad and sister Rosie. We were missing our son John and girlfriend Georgia, but they were with us in our hearts. Yes, I am sentimental at times. Happy New Year to you all.