Christmas Eve 2015

Possibly one of the worst bits of coming here for Christmas was agreeing to buy tickets for the Christmas Eve Gala dinner with live entertainment. It seemed most of the Hotels we looked at had a similar policy so we were stuffed.

We decided to embrace this and make the most of it though we had reservations about just how good it would be.

Let me say up front, the Thai Beach House and its staff worked extremely hard to put this on. They cleared all the furniture from around the terrace, erected a stage (using the flimsiest scaffold I’ve ever seen) over the pool, put up a screen, made a huge snowman out of cotton wool and generally turned the outside space into a winter wonderland. Well, it was more like Santa’s Christmas Grotto at lewis’s Department Store in the 1960’s but they did give it a go.

They cooked some great food and it was free and plentiful.

Sadly a lot of it wasn’t hot. For example, the BBQ selection (Lamb chops, Grilled Fish, Chicken) was served cold so wasn’t at its best. Still, there were plenty of other choices and there were plenty of staff hovering around to remove dirty dishes so there was no evidence to identify the gluttons.

We were offered a free drink as we came in though none of us could work out what it was and whether t was alcoholic or not.

Staff had been promoting a ‘Special Deal’ all week where you pre order bottles of wine at 15% discount. Unfortunately they had hiked the prices to such a point that very few people seemed to have taken up the offer.They were selling the cheapest bottle of wine for about £40 which was a bit expensive especially when it could be bought in the shop next door for about £10.

When i sat down for breakfast this morning (girls were ‘dressing for Breakfast’ so i went on down) they put a flier advertising this offer on the table in front of me. I got up to get some more food and sat back down in a different place. When i got up again, they moved the flier to a new more prominent spot right in front of my new position. So, i sat on a different seat and every time i left the table the flier would reappear strategically right in front of my eyes. This game of Cat and Mouse was more amusing than some of the entertainment they provided on the night.

So, back to the Gala dinner.

We were seated at our table, food and drinks organised ready to be entertained.

Our compere for the night took to the stage and with all the charisma of damp crisp, welcomed us to the Thai Beach House and promised a night to remember, which it was !

This was our first introduction to her catch Phrase. “Yay”.

Now up against other great catch phrases (Swinging/Dodgy Norman Vaughan. Nice to see you, to see you nice. Rock on Tommy. Get out of that without moving, to name but a few) it looks pretty lame i know but her strategy was to use it so often that subliminally it would be ingrained on our memory.

This lady is apparently the daughter of the boss and we think went abroad, possibly to the USA to study as she has a very good command of English (well as good as any Yank can possibly acquire) but she spoke it with that high pitched Barbie Doll voice so loved by American women and so despised by the rest of us.

She used “Yay” to fill any gap and there were lots of them, to express excitement at ‘this awesome show were putting on’ and as a punctuation mark when ever it seemed reasonable. She delivered it in a patronising, underwhelmed manner that suggested she was bored but had to see the show through. What a Trooper.

If ever ‘break a leg’ was relevant it was now.

Starting off with some live music provided by a guy in his mid to late 60’s with an acoustic guitar backed up by a young guy about 1 4 years old who (with one eye closed) did a fair impression of Brian May in front of a wind Machine.

The older guy had little or no voice to speak of and probably wasn’t English but did his best to mumble noises that sounded vaguely like the lyrics of most songs.

This seems to be a common theme. In the Australian bar the other night a singer did a cover of Hotel California which she sang as ‘Californy” and had almost none of the original wording so therefore avoided Royalties.

They played some great songs, Neil Young, Springsteen, T Rex, but I’m not sure most of the audience (which was primarily family groups from across Europe) really got English music from the 1960-70″? But hey.

Then our compere was back on.

Apparently all the room numbers had been put into a raffle and she would pick out the winning tickets throughout the night. So the first room number was picked and the winner went on stage (in the presence of this icon) where he was interviewed and photographed receiving his prize. The compere mentioned Bookings.com the required three time, he made nice comments about the Hotel and then he was allowed to return to his seat. Next ticket out won a meal, same routine, then another and another. It was dull but there was pattern emerging.

Though the Hotel is built on 3 floors, all winning tickets were coming from  level 2 and we were room 204 & 209.

We realised there was a strong possibility that we would be chosen and one of us would have to go up and be humiliated in front of our fellow guests. I threatened go up with the Table Napkin tied around my face if they made me do it.

Be careful what you wish for.

Suddenly our room number echoed from the tannoy, and my name was being called. Just so there was no doubt, Georgia and Jaki started clapping and pointing at me. Following their lead our fellow guests took up the mantra and i was carried to the stage on a wave of cheering and clapping.

The compare went into her routine but failed to clock one important element. I was still stone-deaf from the flight, so our conversation was some what stunted with her repeating ‘Yay’ and me saying ‘Pardon’ a lot. This wasn’t a problem for her, it allowed her to say ‘Yay’ more often, not fully realising the mortal danger she was in.

I was within striking distance of her.  I had a full tube of Vic’s VapourRub in my pocket and a selection of snotty tissues for back up. I was fully trained, motivated and ready to taker out.

Then i committed the most fundamental mistake, i introduced British humour into a foreign country.

it went like this:

Compare. “Yay, you look familiar have you been here before? You have, Yay. When was that?  2013 Yay. Why did you choose to come back”?

So I says. “It was so bad last time, we had to come back to see if it had improved”? Well that bombed. I thought she was gonna burst into tears. I was ushered of the stage like Mick Fleetwood at the Oscars.

So we were now the owners of a free Thai massage voucher. Given the girls were still carrying bruises from their morning massage, none of us were very thrilled about this but not as underwhelmed as the lady from Russia on a once in a life time trip to Thailand who won a Two night stay for free.

At 10 o’clock we slid out onto the Beach and made our way toward the Swing bar where we could see the fire jugglers in action. But even here the crowd was small and the atmosphere a little muted. It didn’t have the excitement it had in 2013, maybe its been done already.

The Beach itself was quiet. there weren’t many tourists, there weren’t many Hawkers and there definitely weren’t any Balloons (fire Lanterns) as the wind was coming inform the sea, making their sale illegal.

This was going to be a quiet Christmas eve by Thai standards.

 

 

 

 

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