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                              PATONG  BEACH,  PHUKET                                                                                            

December 28  Patong Beach lies in a huge bay, not much protection from swell but the weather was fairly stable so the anchorage was good.

Patong is where the trend toward mass tourism has gone the furthest with the proliferation of highrises. Ashore was the mob of tourists lazing on their beach chairs under colorful parasols, swimming or annoying us with their noisy seadoos.

Again, we had a room lined up for Chris and Craig that was close to the action, above a bar on a side street that housed numerous Tailor shops. Every time they walked the street to get to their room, someone would come running from their shop with a measuring tape to try and talk the boys into a new Armani suit.

The streets of Patong are similar to Kata Beach except on a much larger scale.

Lots of interesting sights, including this fresh fruit cart and others selling chocolate crepes, a late night favorite for us!

The shops seem endless and their is much more available in terms of trinkets and things for the tourist to spend his money on.

Night Life in Patong

Of course Patong is famous for its Nightlife with its open air beer bars, discos, tour shops and night markets. The main street - Soi Bangla  is lit like a mini Las Vagas where bar after bar lure customers with a heady mix of female company, rock music and an ocean of booze. The street is closed to traffic each night as the crowds emerge and the district comes to life. Here LadyBoys strut the streets and numerous transvestite shows are featured. The clubs tend toward the sleazy, seedy side but the experience is entertaining.


Craig made a definite impression when he was able to top a local in his game by driving the nail into the log with only one strike!


No shortage of places to stop for a drink.

Our adventures in Patong were interesting. We especially loved to joke around with the Thai people, who are gentle, patient and all around lovable.

Fun with the Hawkers

Dec 30 Chris' Birthday While at a little bar having a drink, one of the vendors approached. Chris & Craig were in the mood to shop so we had a jolly time examining her wares and striking up some good deals.

Chris was taken by the Crockies and before the night was through he had purchased a whole orchestra of frogs, all different sizes & colors.  

The boys tried an unidentified food group for a midnight snack and found it a challenge to chew.

As the evening progressed so did our new friendships

Boys model their new hats

Craig can't resist another purchase

Suits!

Chris & Craig score  stinky stogies

Part of the purchases made that night were an arson of fireworks. At about 3 am we took to the beach to set them off in celebrations of Chris' Birthday! It amazes me that in Thailand they will haphazardly sell explosives to anyone, anywhere!

Fireworks shoved in the sand, the fuses were lit. A big explosion sent flames shooting into the air but one cracker fell over and it's wayward flare set a stack of plastic beach chairs on fire!!!

December 29-30  (see Around Phuket)

We toured Phuket Island by car, visiting Phuket Town, a National Park, the Sea Gypsy Village and some temples.....more..


New Year's Eve

December 31   Patong was definitely the place to be for New Year's Eve and everyone in Thailand knew it! The streets and beaches were jam packed and the streets took on a heartbeat of their own with the blaring music competing from each bar and the exhilaration of excited party-goers ready to bring in a new year. We had dinner with Tony and gang and Bob & Beckie at a beach restaurant.

After dinner we hit a few bars, everywhere our visiting distracted by the antics of the table dancers! The Thai girls were extra friendly trying to lure in a handsome farang.

Western men, in the eyes of Thai women, are far more appealing and "manly" than their own small, boyish Thai men. And richer too! Although there are countless women and boys that make their living through prostitution in Thailand, many of the Thai women simply prefer white guys!

Fireworks Galore

At midnight we headed to the beach for the most amazing display of fireworks I have ever witnesses. They were not choreographed, as in Australia's famous performance. But there was an continuous multicolored lightshow completely surrounding the crowd. You didn't know where to look next because whatever the direction, there were hundreds of trailing sparking streams of light and thunderous booms resonating from the skies.

 

Fire Lanterns for Good Luck

Even more of a spectacle and something I will never forget, were the hundreds of thousand of traditional Thai floating hot air lanterns that filled the sky.

Forming a milky way of their own, the lanterns slipped silently into the heavens amidst the animated ricocheting of blazing fireworks

We purchases a lantern of our own, made of thin paper stretched over a bamboo frame.  Heat from a burning wick soaked in lamp oil propels them upward, although an incredible number landed in trees or caught fire! (So much for good luck!)

We lit our lantern and waited for it to heat up, much like a hot air balloon. Then we let it go!

We watched our lantern eagerly join all the others as it floated for the cosmos bringing with it the anticipation for our Good Luck wishes to be grated.

Pyrotechnics for Chris & Craig

The boys joined in the fun and purchased some huge crackers of their own. A vendor readily sold them fireworks identical to ones used by pros for commercial use!


The set-up. Lighting the fuses Run!!!
The fireworks sent a blaze shooting into the sky, exploding into a trail of color, the boom echoing over the cheer from the crowd.

Hooked on the adrenaline rush, Chris & Craig sought a bigger bang. Along came a vendor with a huge pack of dynamite. It took a while to scrounge up enough cash but some locals chipped in just to see the action!


Digging for money & making the transaction. Proud of their new Big Guns, preps were made to set up and light the new toys

A very impressive show indeed! The fireworks were spectacular. The guys survey the aftermath of the explosions.

Satisfaction proved only temporary when they discovered the Grandpa of Fireworks. It cost them a bundle to pool their resources on this monstrous tub of explosives. It's single fuse, when lit, sent 27 individual rockets of blazing colored fireballs bursting into sparkling streams of luminescence in the sky!

Past 3am and time to hit the bars again. We waded through red cracker paper knee deep in the streets amidst the popping of crackers still being set off everywhere. The beerbars were still in full swing and so packed that you couldn't move.


Finally Gord and I called it a night and headed back to the boat. Chris and Craig partied on.

We met for lunch the following morn and commented on the appropriate signage that appeared on the street.


We made our way through the crowds and had a nightcap at Tiger Bar .

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