Loi Krathong has long been Thailand's most beautiful festival.
Not anymore in Pattaya.
Few girls and women were dressed in the traditional costume. The police banned fireworks. Their marine patrols gathered the krathong offerings less than 20 meters from shore. No one was allowed to light a fire balloon, perhaps the most exotic image to grace a night sky.
Instead drunken Thais and farangs race cars and motorcycles, as if to tell the water goddess celebrated by the holiday, "Yet mung."
My wife was up-country, my mia noi and I were a thing of the past, so I celebrated with two beers and fell asleep dreaming of times gone when the world still appreciated beauty.
I woke without my traditional holiday hang-over.
Not much to do on a Sunday, if you're not reliving KRIS KRISTOFFENSEN SONG sunday morning coming down.
I got on my motorscooter and drove south to Ban Samae San. The traffic was light. The drunks were sleeping off copious intakes of whiskey. Arriving at the outskirts of Ban Samae San I avoided the fishing village, since behind those of the houses racks of fish dry in the sun to encompass the air with a particularly pungent odor.
There's only two things in the world that smell of fish and one of them is fish.
I rode to the hill temple overlooking the undeveloped offshore islands. Not a single worshippers was in sight. I struck the bells with a wooden mallet and wai-ed my respect to the water goddess. Afterwards I went down to the navy pier. No one was there either.
The air was about 75. A good summer day in Maine. I stripped naked and dove into the crystal clear water. My balls shrunk to peanuts and my penis to a cashew. Only Cialis could revive them to normal size, but I was celibate these days, so I drifted on the current for several hundred meteres and then swam back to the pier.
To be truthful it was a struggle.
But the water goddess forgave my year's excesses, otherwise I'd make the Pattaya Mail as another farang suicide with a photo of me wrapped in a white sheet.
I'm not quite ready for that yet, because even at 55 I got a lot of living to do.