Gentle half-moons have gathered under their eyes and they are as old as Ammu was when she died. Thirty-one.
But a viable die-able age.
– Arundhati Roy, The God of Small Things.
I turned 30 last weekend. I partied in a way that might not fly when I’m in my 30s. And I recovered in a way I hope to continue to do well into my 90s.
Behold the perfect party:
Casual – Friday night drinks at a bar. A facebook invite and a five hour window to drop in. 10 people or 100 people could have turned up and it would have been fun.
Collaborative – Laura was turning 25, I was turning 30. Milestones! We hosted together which makes a party so much nicer.
Cross-pollination – not like actual cross-pollination (ew), but a whole lot of people from different parts of life, all got together and mingled! What a relief – nothing worse than a party divided up like post-soviet nations.
And now to make turning 30 even better:
On Sunday (the actual date of my birth), sisters and mother took me to Peninsula Hot Springs for some relaxation care of earth (and the clever people who got that lovely water from under the ground and into these lovely baths).
And then we ate:
Perfect 30th birthday – check!
OK, it’s time I shared a secret with you…
It was my BIRTHDAY!
Was that the biggest surprise ever?! I mean, anyone reading this blog would have been thinking “well, it’s business as usual over at Where is Sarah?” But the TRUTH is that I am just so mature now that I don’t even mention my birthday numerous times in every blog post for the month of April. I’m way cooler than that.
Soooo, it was birthday on Wednesday the 15th of April. I felt great about this birthday because Wednesday seems to be my special “Birthday Day”. Do you have one of those? The day of the week that your birthday seems to fall on most frequently? Lara’s is Sunday. I TOTALLY agree with that. It seems like her birthday is always on Sunday. We tried to do the maths on this but if you give it a try you’ll probably discover, as we did, that it gets boring fast. This “Birthday Day” could actually be one of those false associations you have in your head, like Monday=Red. Three=Blue. We’ve all got those associations, don’t lie. Anyway, my most birthday-y day is Wednesday.
Wednesday was also the day I had to go back to work after a few days off and the day everyone was going back to work after protester/state of emergency madness…but guess what? I wasn’t feeling fabbo in the morning so I decided to work from home. And work I did! Promise!
But don’t worry, I didn’t just work on my birthday. Lara was still in town until midday so we had a quick lunch before she headed to the airport, and after work I went out to meet my former Aceh-housemate Mike, who was coincidentally passing through Bangkok on the way to Laos!
Because it was my birthday I decided to take a motorbike across town. I don’t use the motorbike to go across town very often because they are actually more expensive than taxis for longer trips, and the statistical probability of death or serious injury goes off the charts the minute you hop on the back. But I LOOOOOOVE riding the motorbikes, it’s kind of like lollies, you know you can’t do it too often because it’s bad for you. But on my birthday I can eat all the lollies I like!
Mike was staying in Samsen Rd, nearby the backpacker mecca, Khao San Rd. Khao San Rd is also the heart of Songkran festivities…which I failed to take into account when I decided to take the motorbike. I got well Songkraned. This is me arriving at Mike’s guest house:
Mike gloated that he was clever enough to have taken a taxi from the city earlier. Thinks he’s so smart. We headed out to get some dinner but wait…what was that Mike?
Suck it smart boy!
So just a quick bit of background: At Songkran the streets turn into massive battle grounds and the weapons are water pistols, buckets of ice water, hoses…and chalk paste. Kind souls walk up to you, smear it on your face and wish you “Happy New Year!’ Thanks guys!
The girl on the right side of this photo is being wished a happy new year!
Yes, you’re right. It’s the best holiday in the history of the world.
When it was time to go home I battled through the throngs to find another motorbike for the trip home. It was pretty messy. This is me when I got home:
Last Tuesday Lara and I decided to declare the State of Emergency “Over” or perhaps “not something we care about anymore” and went out for a night-before-my-birthday/Lara’s-last-night-in-town dinner. Keen to take advantage of the vertical strengths of Bangkok we went to Longtable on the 25th floor of some building over near Asok BTS.
We took to the BTS to Saphan Taksin pier and waited for our boat. I took this photo using the timer setting. Oh the hilarity. Just like Family Ties.
Look at the Oriental Hotel boat! Isn’t it fancy. But there was one boat we liked even more…
We took our seat in a quiet corner by the window and got busy deciding what we’d have.
We all knew what we wanted pretty quickly, but took our time reading the menu: exotic teas, rose jam, clotted cream! agh!
Lara and I ordered the Traditional English High Tea, and Nicky ordered the Special Thai High Tea – ethnic profiles in check!
While we waited for our tea I spied a room sectioned off from the rest of the lounge, and went for a peak through the glass doors. Only a moment later one of the staff politely ushered me away from the doors. What was going on in there?! I wanted to see in more than ever! A few minutes later three abnormally tall men walked out of the room, having ended what looked like some kind of important person meeting (although one of the men looked positively out of mind with boredom). I took the opportunity to snap a photo of the room when the men left the doors open behind them.
Out of nowhere, the same lady who had politely warned me to stay away before was on top of me in a flash! “There’s a meeting going on in there!” I quickly ran back to my seat, mumbling that the meeting had finished. But I didn’t want to push it. I already had two strikes to my name, and even though it would make and excellent blog story, I didn’t want to be ejected from the Oriental Hotel – we hadn’t even started tea yet!
Shortly after my brush with authority our tea started to arrive. You know any meal that begins with sorbet is right on track.
Then our tea arrived. I had a green tea with citrus notes. And then our food arrived. Oh look at it!!
And look at the ladies enjoying the fine spread!
But wait, what’s this? A birthday cake for Sarah? Two of the staff brought this out singing happy birthday to me! Nicky had set it up!
There was one thing possibly even better than the delicious apple slice with a biscuty base and real vanilla ice cream (my favourite)… The lady who snapped at me earlier was now singing to me! Yeah, that’s right lady…I’m the boss around here, the birthday girl! SING!
And then she took a nice photo of the three of us, and all was forgiven between us.
Quite a number of hours later it was time to move on from tea and walk the grounds before reluctantly boarding the boat back to regular Bangkok. Oh I do enjoy the East in the Summer. Simply mahvelous!