One has been watching The Crown about the British Royal Family and one does feel the need after watching to refer to oneself as, oneself. It just seems like the sort of thing one should do while pouring oneself another gin and talking to one’s dog Trevor about ones plans for the evening. Except one doesn’t have gin, one has Chang, and Trev is not a corgi and may have fleas. And instead of sitting in one’s palace under the grey skies of Windsor, one is sitting on a deck watching 30 sea eagles catching the wind currents as they fish for dinner with the sky a striking shade of pink and the ocean a bright turquoise.
One must refrain from calling oneself, oneself, when one goes to the Lanta Lanta Festival this evening to ensure oneself does not get slapped with a fish cake, or worse, a halal chicken kebab. So, one will stop now, though one’s readers must understand it is difficult for oneself to stop once one has started. Like when one does the Batman voice, one can’t stop.
*yep, I’m talking in a royal Batman voice now…bugger.
Every year, on the 7th, 8th and 9th of March, Koh Lanta Old Town holds the Lanta Lanta Festival which celebrates 500 years of cultural diversity on Koh Lanta. I happened, per chance, to be in Old Town during the festival. I’d like to say I’m one of those organised travellers who plans such occurrences. I’m not.
In the days leading up to the festival I’d watched what felt like most of the people living in town setting up stands, market stalls, stages and disco lights.
Koh Lanta Old Town was originally settled by Sea Gypsies, whose decedents still live on the island, and later inhabited by Chinese merchants and a large Thai-Muslim community. Those groups for over 500 years have lived peacefully together, and still do. The sounds of adhan call to prayer still echo around the bay at 5:30am each morning and the visible signs of the Chinese heritage is seen in the architecture along the main street
The Festival is a celebration of that peaceful living between cultures and showcases them through food, performances and cultural displays. Schools from around the island and the mainland come to perform on the main stage, telling stories through song and dance about the history of Old Town and how it is shaped by the varying religious beliefs, way of life, food and families that make up this wonderful community.
Festival Night One
Filled with music from various bands, colourful performances, firecrackers and dancing. The aromas from the different food stalls selling bbq meats, halal kebabs, exquisite desserts, tasty cocktails and freshly blended fruit shakes was overwhelmingly enticing. The stages were bright and sparkling with disco lights and handmade costumes with glimmering gold and silver. I wandered around for a couple of hours then went back to my fisherman’s hut where I could sit on my deck and hear the music till midnight as the party continued.
Festival Night Two (broken down like a $2 hired scooter running on fumes)
6:00pm – finish work, put on a long dress to make it easy to sit on cushions on the ground at one of the concerts along the water
6:30pm – find restaurant that had been packed the night before and order my first western meal since I’ve arrived, a burger, with cheese!
6:45pm – sit waiting for the masses to arrive and my cheese burger with cheese, did I mention cheese?
6:46pm – massive bug flies into my dress, down my cleavage, like right down, and keeps going, spill my beer on my lap
7:15pm – finish burger, not another living soul in the place (how do I keep doing this), leave
7:20pm – wander towards the main stage, hear a loud bang behind me, turn my head quickly, get vertigo, fall, like a nana at a disco attempting the worm. People crowd around me, look into my eyes, think I’m the town drunk, walk away mumbling, shaking their heads
7:45pm – find two Irish guys playing a blend of Irish jig/Thai ballads to songs such as “All About That Bass”, “Little Lion Man” and the theme from Game of Thrones
8:00pm – one of the Thai barmen feels so bad for me that I’m sitting alone he just sits with me, asks my name, says his, sits for five minutes, then goes
8:15pm – Thai barman returns, asks my name, tells me his, sits for five minutes, leaves
8:30pm – Thai barman returns…you get the idea
8:45pm – wander back to my fisherman’s hut to find a party going on down the street at a French Café, three doors down, figure, why not, go to party
9:15pm – try to make conversation with French people at party, am completely ignored
9:30pm – still try to make conversation with different French people, still ignored, sacré bleu!
9:45pm – leave party and go home
11:00pm – after sitting on the deck for a while listening to the cacophony of music from all the bands decide to call it a night
2:30am – have not slept, French party has turned into rave, bed is vibrating
4:30am – have not slept, French party is still raving
4:45am – party finally ends. Sleep
Festival Night Three
I made curried rice and veggies, ate it, watched The Crown. One cannot back it up three nights in a row. One has changed.
Nugget of Wisdom
Learn more French other than camembert, baguette and croissant