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A Thai New Year '98

This year, we decided to spend our New Year in Bangkok.
The price was right (because of the currency problems), the food is always great, and we figured that Thai people would find a way to properly celebrate the new year.

We arrived in the city in time to watch the fireworks display from the Compass Rose Bar, on the top floor of the Westin-Banyan Tree.

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Happy New Year!

Paisan and Em

During the following days, we fulfilled all of our normal obligations.
Which means we took a river cruise, watched some traditional dance, ate a bunch of new food, and somehow still found the energy to get a massage (hey, my resolution is to improve my physical condition!).

On another day, we met with my friend Paisan and his lovely wife, Em.
Paisan works for my company, and Em is a school teacher. They took us to a large local market, and then to lunch.

While we were here, we also attended the 'Amazing Thailand' kickoff festivities.

We expected a very touristy event, but were surprised by a massive cultural festival that was mostly attended by Thai people. There was an energetic musical performance by a group from Isaan, in Northern Thailand. There were also a lot of cultural demonstrations and many handicrafts for sale.

We sat to watch a dance performance, when the ladies below sat down and invited us to eat their food and drink their, um, stuff. I never did find out what we drank. They said it was water, but it had a fruity flavor.
Anyway, it tasted fine, and we didn't get sick, so I've got no complaints.

One of these things is not like the others...

They didn't know it, but they kept our streak intact. Every time I've been to Thailand, someone has given me free food.
I must look either poor or hungry.

The surprise of the evening came when we were looking for a taxi and stumbled on these singers, performing from their boats in the canal.  I don't know anything about the origins of this, but it seemed very appropriate.
Water, music, and moonlight.

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Canal Singers

It was the perfect ending to a great night.