Oh Lord, It’s New Year’s in Bangkok. Again.

What’s up reader, I’m Seven. Back for another weekly soliloquy (weekliloquy, copyright BKK7). Wow, is it me or did 2018 blow by in the blink of an eye? It’s hard to believe the year is already over. If you’re like me, you waited till the last minute to think about making plans for the 31st, and you’re now trying to decide between watching the fireworks from a rooftop bar, springing for a fancy do in one of the nicer hotels, or having a threesome with two of your best gal-pals. Or maybe you weren’t thinking that, maybe that’s just me. But if you are like me, factored into your choice about where to go is the ever-present nauseating throng of idiot tourists all having their “eat-pray-love” moment at the end of a selfie stick while braying on in whatever horrible accent betrays whatever backwater inbred garbage dump they came from at a volume that can only be described as auditory barbarism. Or maybe, again, that’s just me.

Last night I was on my normal Patpong patrol, and in the midst of it happened by Thigh Bar (their selection of Belgian beers is the best on the Soi). The only other customers in the joint were a couple of Aussies and their Aussie girlfriends, whooping it up and having a grand old time. I sat at the stage with a Paulaner, chatting up the girls and playing on my phone. After a few minutes, one of the dudes came over and introduced himself. I grunted something half-polite and he asked if I spoke English. Then he said, “You look bored mate, you wanna come sit with us?” I said, “Ohhhh, no no no. I’m not bored, I just come here every night.” To which he replied, “You live here? You’re so lucky! I’ve been here two days and can’t believe my eyes!” I nodded wearily. “You get to do this every single night, wow!” Then he bade a polite farewell and went back to his seat. The mamasan gave me a wink, knowing how much I hate talking to foreigners. Nothing ruins a time out in the city like tourists—or other farang in general. But I don’t want to sound too curmudgeony. Especially with New Year’s coming up. Despite the hordes of unwashed backpackers, sexpats, and retirees that come out of the woodwork, I actually love New Year’s in Thailand. In fact, I never liked New Year’s until moving here. I love that song by Creedence Clearwater Revival about being stuck in Lodi. At the time Fogerty wrote it, Lodi was a dusty one-horse town in the middle of nowhere with nothing going on. Now, it’s a crucial California wine terroir known for growing exceptional Zinfandel grapes. In 2018, getting stuck in Lodi would be pretty awesome. Similarly, I’ve been “stuck in Bangkok” for the last several New Year’s, and just like Lodi, it ain’t that bad. In fact, it’s better than every other place where I’ve spent the 31st  over the course of the last decade. And so, as we approach another milestone—yet one more year of self-imposed exile in paradise—allow me to reflect on some New Year’s past, and the string of them that led me here. It’s a retrospective (photos are mine from the locations described):

My first New Year’s spent abroad was in London in 2007. The year before was the final one with my ex, so despite being in one of the greatest cities in the world, I was feeling sorry for myself. It was a lovely, lonely time. And freezing as balls. I strolled down to the Thames and watched the fireworks opposite The London Eye, and though I was jammed shoulder to shoulder amid a sea of people, I was alone. Except for one brief moment when a stranger gave me a swig from his champagne bottle, I spoke to no one. But the thrill of being in a far-off place on a momentous occasion overshadowed my solitude. From that night onward for the next several years, I determined to spend every subsequent New Year’s in a different country.


The next one was in Seoul. It was like being on another planet. I wasn’t alone this time, but I wished I had been. I went with some coworkers to see a Filipino cover band play in a hotel rooftop bar. Our crew was comprised of Koreans, a few Canadians, an Irishman, and a Brit. The band was terrific, and everyone was having a good time, until one of the Canadians—a hefty middle-aged woman—made a pass at me. She was uncharacteristically strong, and once she got a grip on me we were locked in a fearsome struggle, like one of those Youtube videos where a hippo attacks a gator. She wanted to put her tongue in my mouth and I…….preferred that she not. I broke free by sticking my elbow in her eye. Later, she denied sexually assaulting me, and our workplace environment was awkward until I quit a month later.


In 2009 I was in Panama for New Year’s, and again was unfortunately not alone. I’d been traveling around Central America with two other Americans I met along the way. One was a girl from San Francisco. We spent a month together and nothing ‘romantic’ happened between us, mainly because she was spindly and weird-looking. On New Year’s Eve she finally broke down in a drunken fit, asking between sobs what was wrong with her that I hadn’t tried to sleep with her. I couldn’t tell her it was because her hooked nose and facial moles made her look like a young witch, so I lied and said nothing was wrong with her and we reached a conversational stalemate. The next day I packed and left before she woke up and spent the rest of the time traveling solo.


2010 was my first New Year’s in Thailand. I was in Phuket with my Thai girlfriend whose sister owned a bar on Bangla Road. We drank, dined, danced, walked on the beach, and screwed like rabbits. It was fantastic, and I should’ve stopped traveling then. But at the time I was still determined to carry on spending every December 31 in a new, exotic locale.


In 2011, 2012, and 2013 I was in Cambodia, Laos, and Tokyo respectively. In each instance, just like in London I was alone amid a crowd of strangers. In 2014 my dad died, and so I went back to the US to be with my family. But by then I was losing enthusiasm for travel. Thailand felt like home, and I missed it every time I was away. My last NYAFT (New Year’s away from Thailand) was 2015, back in L.A. to see my mum and some friends. I caught a Morrissey concert on the 31st, and flew back to Bangkok on New Year’s Day. And that, finally, was my last “New Year abroad.” Since then I’ve stayed put in Bangkok where I belong. In 2016 I counted down to midnight on the 2nd floor of Bada Bing A-gogo. It was a grand party. The girls were in an extra celebratory mood, and also very drunk. I walked around pulling girls’ boobs out of their bras and nobody seemed to mind. In both 2017 and 2018 I was surrounded by all my best girls in Electric Blue. This year, I’ll be somewhere in the Pong—maybe King’s Corner 1, although I’m sure Black Pagoda and The Strip will throw big parties. Wherever the location, if I can bury my head in the cleavage of a young, pretty friend, I’ll be happy. I’ve come to realize that, like all things in my life (painting, photography, the ukulele, t-shirt collecting, blogging), travel was merely a substitute for the one and only true obsession of my soul: that being my naked body in proximity to another younger smoother naked female body. The more tattoos the better. And so I’ve closed the chapter on New Year’s around the world, opting instead to bring the world (Thai girls are my world) to me. This December 31st, my friend Ploy will bare her back tattoo in my boudoir by 19.00. Plenty of time afterward to shower and shuffle down to a showcase of shimmying she-devils on a poorly-lit Patpong stage. And that, in my humble view, is the perfect way to ring in the New Year. Will some foreigner try to wish me well and share some camaraderie around midnight? Sure. But I can always pretend to not speak English.

I couldn’t ask for a better life.

Happy New Year, everyone. I hope yours, like mine, will be full of bliss and tits and ass. If we’re both above ground this time next year, check back. Hopefully I’ll have a more adventurous tale to tell. And until then, cheers to this dreamlike existence in the greatest country in the world—Thailand.