Two friends and I ventured to Thailand and Laos this past summer. We grounded in Bangkok and caught a tuk-tuk (essentially a motorized rickshaw) from the airport to the center of the city. The tuk-tuk driver deposited us on the most frenzied, frisky street he could find and then flatly fled. (Picture: Bangkok)
Wobbling with unwieldy backpacks, shedding street sellers, hunting for our booked hotel, and absorbing broad beers consumed the next hour and a half. Within two days we acclimated ourselves and altered into haggling automatons. Within three days we journeyed to Ayutthaya, Thailand’s capitol from the 14th-18th centuries, 50 miles north of Bangkok.
The tuk-tuk driver absconded after discovering our Ayutthayan guesthouse’s sign. We looked as he left and then edged onto the imprecise path to find a toothless Thai ancient, thrilled for more guests, serving a twenty-something Aussie man lunch at an outdoor table. Five minutes later exposed us seated, drinking, awaiting the food the cook (toothless Thai ancient) pledged would be prepared within minutes, and which the Aussie promised was premium. Gramma distributed food, hugs, and toothless kisses. We expended the next few hours devouring Chang beer and consorting with the Aussie and Gramma, who maintained the same staggering beer consumption. Gramma frequently announced, “It my birfday,” compelling her to chug a beer and us to celebrate. We, temporarily inebriated, briefly deserted the festivities to tour some ruins and temples. We returned to a comparable scene, Aussie and Gramma drinking at the table, now accompanied by a few Thai women, another Aussie man, and an Indian man. Three Irish girls disembarked at Gramma’s Guesthouse, shortly participating in the partying, and within minutes of seating, were served dinner and toothless kisses. (Picture: Gramma spoon-feeding one of my friends of her own volition).
The night progressed, one of my friends surrendered to the room, debilitated by food poisoning, while my other friend and I continued the revelry. Gramma repeatedly revealed, “It my birfday!” attended with a grin and a beer chug, generally followed shortly by her settling herself on someone’s lap. The Aussie replied with, "Legend!" "Champion!" continually referring to Gramma as one or the other. Hours elapsed, and nighttime divulged me, my friend (the two Americans), two Aussies, Gramma, an Irishwoman, a Canadian man, and three other Thai women – one complete with perm – in the back of a truck being driven to Thai bars. The group imbibed two enormous beer dispensers, which we employed as innovative beer bongs, which led to Gramma dancing on tables, swaying to the music. (Picture: Gramma on tables).
In our return to the truck, we boarded the wrong truck bed. Another bar divulged Gramma asleep at a table. Our return to the hotel constituted ganja, alcohol, and wandering. My friend and I arrived at the room at five-thirty in the morning. We awoke hours later to find the Aussies and Gramma had initiated their day’s drinking at 6am. The first thing Gramma declared to us that morning, “It my birfday!”