New Years Eve was spent with Roger, Alan and his family and a few friends and neighbours of theirs. It was a nice evening which again was spent outside. In true Thai tradition the females gather in a group and all sit on the floor chatting whilst the guys sit at the table drinking beer.
One of Alans friends and neighbour Yanna, was an older Swedish guy, i had met him last time i was here, he liked a drink mostly Vodka, problem was he would talk to you in very good english for a while then slip into swedish for a bit then finish in english again. This was all a bit confusing especially if he was telling you what he thought was a very funny joke, having the punchline come at you in another language which you don’t understand leads to problems, i would just smile and laugh – it seemed to work.
There are huge ex-pat communities here in Thailand, people come from all round the world to enjoy the climate and cheap way of life. I met people from all walks of life and from lots of different countries. They all live happily together and form their own communities, they all pass on information to each other and work out how to solve problems together.
The problem with Thailand is that it is very corrupt and there is always someone there waiting to trip you up or overcharge you for something because you are a ‘farang’ – foreigner. They say there are always two prices here, farang price and local price. Thats why these communities are formed and are strong, they support each other to make life easier for themselves. Many people come out here and survive on their pensions as living costs are so cheap.
We watched the fireworks go off around the bay and then called it a night. 2014 had started. I had a few more days staying with Roger before i was going to be heading off up to the north of Thailand, something which i hadn’t done before.
The north is a bit more of a hilly area and a bit more of the real Thailand or so they say. I left on the 6th Jan and Roger gave me a lift back up to the bus station. This time just a simple bus journey to Bangkok, a taxi ride to Don Meung airport and a 50 pound flight to Chiang Rai province, easy. It had been a nice break, not only had i been away from the boat for a bit, i had seen an old friend and colleague who i first met 27 years ago, had Christmas with some friends and enjoyed not being tied to a timetable.