Our Thai New Year’s Eve itself is typically anti-climatic. Fortified on ephedrine we down enough Chang to make an elephant tipsy, and lurch around on the sand with the rest of the singleted, shifting to the pulsing music. It is hectic, and we are soon divided.
Brother Fox and I dig a hole just back off the beach and bury our jandels with a small bottle of rum before heading into the mêlée in search of our brethren. We tell some Australian girls that the fireworks above are just a warm-up, and that the countdown will be soon. Obviously we are wrong.
We continue on, the sharp smell of gunpowder signalling the arbitrary switchover that we have gathered to celebrate. Finally, we find Brother Tijo. He is unapologetically hammered, caught up on a nihilistic bender. His stamina betters that of Fox, and we return to our sand cairn to reclaim our treasure.
I return to try to save Tijo from his own vices, while Fox heads for the solace of our huts. Together, but alone. In the haze of brown liquor and hops we are each reflecting on the missed dragons, strangely retrospective given such festivity – but it is part and parcel of the switch. Time is moving on, we are reminded, and so we drink again, unsure of what it is that we feel about this. We stay out for the sake of it, another Chang, drunken banter with sloppy broads; the ephedrine fighting the alcohol as words slip out slurred. Hoping that this year we will catch that dragon. And if not, well, there’s always more beer.
Eventually I too am spent, and leave the most resilient of our number to welcome the dawn of a new year on his lonesome. 2012 has arrived, and we numb its presence with an avalanche of Tramadol. I hunch, slit-eyed, out of the heat, waiting for the meds to silence the ghoulish thumping of another well-deserved hangover.