So often one hears people say on New Year’s Eve that they wish for a better year, that they hope all goes better and that the trials of the past year improve. This year as we all sat and revealed our thoughts on the year passing we were all just hoping 2013 be as grand as 2012, that the adventures continues, the new amount of new friends grow and that the life we lead keeps on.
2012 was a year I revisited favorite places, we started again in Phuket, Thailand, then all around the expansive island country of Indonesia returning to central Indonesia and my favorite spots. From there the year was full of seeing old friends and places. Since being back in Thailand I have revisited the Big Buddha, Boat Lagoon Marina and New Year’s Eve at Patong Beach. All familiar places now shared with new people.
2012 was a year to see old friends too. Several past crew members came back on Furthur and we visited others. Good friends from home came to visit too. Once again I jammed with the guys at Gili A and the bonds between musicians grew deeper; Capt Brian and the Black Gibson are remembered at the Freedom Bar by Tagu and the band.
I find it comforting to return to the places and people I have grown to love, to have some consistency to a life of travel that I have chosen. The verity and uniqueness comes from sharing these places and events with different crew. New Year’s Eve last year was epic and I knew not repeatable as we returned to Patong Beach. I did not expect it nor want it to be the same but did enjoy the sense of returning as we dropped anchor in the bay at the same spot as last year.
The girls decorated the boat and prepared a scrumptious dinner we enjoyed under the sparkling lantern filled sky. They did the accustomed “tarting up” all tempered by the impending wet dinghy ride ashore in 20 knots of wind. We left Furthur in time to join the midnight revelry ashore with the masses of party goers.
So it was with the combined sense of familiarity and adventure that I piled my three lovely lady crew in the dinghy and headed to shore. This year had a big shift as the mega party planned by American socialite Paris Hilton was moved to Patong Beach at the last minute. Speculation mounted as the barriers were put up on the beach and the colossal sound system barge was moved into place. First I heard it was free and open then the fences went up. We could hear the sound booming all the way out at the boat so it was clear the music could be enjoyed anywhere nearby. We did discover that admission was being charged and steeply, too much for us. People were pouring out of the event site when we got there after midnight so the allure vanished.
Instead we walked the crowded avenue of the party section of town. Dozens and dozens of cans of silly string filled the air and the girls were barraged with sting more than once, all in good fun. The girls lit a flying lantern at midnight for good luck and it rose into the sky with hundreds of other lanterns, a glorious site.
First we hit the famed Lady Boy bar where transvestites of the most persuasive nature display the handy work of Phuket’s many transgender surgeons. It is truly shocking how gorgeous these ladies are. My inhibitions long gone in their company I enjoyed the show and the laughter from my crew as I posed with one of the girls.
No trip to Patong Beach is complete without a ping pong show and the girls and I took in one such place. As last year, the crew had bug- eyed open, mouth awe and the show. They were more fun to watch than the entertainers.
By this time it was after 3 am and I needed a rest and the girls were in full swing so off they went and I had a nice ice coffee in a café. I took wondered about marveling at the antics of the crowds, quite a site for a sober guy. I ran into some fellow cruisers and a guy I jammed with at my birthday party.
I made my way back to the dinghy dock and stopped for something to drink in the company of three lovely ladies, all very friendly, glamorously dressed and –ya—not ladies at all—so as the long night ended I bid my ladyboy friends good night, bowed to each and received giggly curtsies and back to Furthur I went at 5 am.
As per plan I returned sleepy eyed at 8 am to pick up the girls who had made it into the big party and even on the barge. The donned souvenir life jackets given out at the barge, quite a site so see the after math of hours of makeup and hairdo work now looking like the day after desert and wrapped in bright orange life vests, they had partied like it was 2013 for sure.
There are many places to spend New Year’s Eve but I do believe it is hard to beat Patong Beach and this year we shared the wonders with Paris Hilton, who could ask for more.