A Memorable Birthday In Thailand

The first birthday I celebrated outside the US was at Chalet Martin in Gryon, Switzerland – which has the distinct honor of being named the Best Hostel of the first year of my travels.  One of the lasting friendships I made while I was there was with Dawna, a fellow-American living at the chalet for an extended period.  On my birthday, she made me a wonderful dinner, and we had yet another of our many long chat sessions.

The next year, I was traveling from Cebu City to Manila in the Philippines on my birthday.  I can't recall, but I think I just went out to the bars that night – nothing really special.

But the following year, all the new friends I made while attending school in Phuket, Thailand made sure my birthday was extra special.  My birthday fell on a Wednesday, so we postponed the celebration until Friday so we could stay out as late as we wanted and not worry about having school the next day.  Earlier in the week, a couple of my fellow-students discovered a nice restaurant perched high up on a hill with a breathtaking view of Phuket Town.

We started our Friday night with dinner at the hill-top restaurant.  The weather was picture-perfect and the view of the city at night was especially nice.  At the end of the long, relaxed dinner – filled with great food and stimulating conversations – my friends surprised me with a mountain of ice-cream, complete with candles ready and waiting for me to make a birthday wish.

I noted with some dismay that, even if each candle represented a decade, there still weren't enough present.  Anyway, after dinner, we all piled into several tuk-tuks and headed off to Patong on the other side of Phuket Island.  This is where all the go-go bars are located, as well as discos and other hot-spots.  And, since one member of our group was openly gay, we all got to visit one of those "other" hot-spots.  It was quite an interesting night, and made for a very memorable birthday.