Anytime we have even one extra day off from school, the first thought is “where to?”. This is a mindset I want to adopt when I go back to the US. Imagine living as though you have to squeeze your entire existence in a space into a six month span. Living in Thailand puts you on a timeline. You have a certain block to experience everything possible. As we were making plans for our upcoming long weekend, we stumbled upon a music festival in Pattaya. You did not have to ask me twice if I was down. I didn’t even think much about where the festival itself was.
We rushed after school to grab our things in order to make it in time for our 6:30 PM bus. We were debating between taking a cab or the MRT. We opted for the cab because we figured it would cheaper. We thought we still had enough time even with the holiday traffic. We largely miscalculated as our 45 minute ride turned into almost three hours. Arriving to the bus station almost an hour late, we had our fingers crossed there would be another option. Luckily, we were all able to get tickets right on the 8PM bus. This actually worked out in our favor because now we had time to grab some dinner before our 2 and 1/2 hour ride. The bus ride was a breeze, except for a similar story to the last time. More “Facetimers” behind me with big mouths and no headphones.
I had low hopes for Pattaya, but wasn’t too concerned since I was meeting up with some pretty great people for an awesome event. I wasn’t going there because it was on my bucket list of weekend trips. We were told it was super gross and just plain sucked. I don’t know if we just ended up in a good spot or what, but I loved it! *Moral of the story: don’t believe everything you hear. Form your own opinions.* The place is basically Panama City, Florida. A bunch of old retired white men. Some with their wives, others with young, beautiful Thai women.
By the time we landed at our hostel, we were beat. We took a moment to admire the view through the darkness, then curled up in bed. The next morning, we were stoked to checked out our rooftop pool and see the ‘scape through the lens of daylight. We were all starving and wanted a good a$$ brunch. We found this adorable little restaurant on the water called “Sand Bar by the Sea”. I had the “American Breakfast” and probably fluffiest pancake of my life. (Don’t worry Papa, yours are still better <3). White Russians are my winter time drink. As we walked up and heard Christmas Music playing, my eyes met this item on the menu. I just had to order one. In this moment, I felt a slight bit of holiday cheer for the first time.
When we were finished up our meal, a cute, little older Thai man came and started chatting us up. Hi name is “Guy”. He turned out to be the owner of the place. So genuine and kind. He convinced us to come back that evening for dinner to see their live band. We promised to bring our friends.
We headed back to our AirBnB to soak up the sun at our breathtaking pool with floaties in tow. My old roommate, Sydney, and her crew met up with us. The best part about moving to Thailand is being able to reconnect with old friends while making new ones in the process. The pool was delicately placed on the 31 floor situated between the city and sea. The view had it all.
There aren’t many cabs or motor-taxis in Pattaya. It is mostly these communal trucks with covered beds. You just hop on and ride. So there we go, back on our way to “Sand Bar by the Sea”. While the rides are a little bumpy, the weather couldn’t have been more perfect. Nothing like riding in a truck bed with the sea breeze whipping through your hair. Once, we arrive we were able to catch the final moments of sunsetting over the water. They already had our table set up in the lounge area, as requested. Guy, said he gave us his best server for the evening. He was telling everyone how we were the teachers from America. He was so pleased that we followed through on our promise and returned.
Once the band started he assured us, second set is when they really “rock out”. He said, “They may even play a little ‘Purple Rain’ for the young people.” Emphasis on the young. Someone else said, “You guys are a breathe of fresh air. These people are all over 60.” We spent almost four hours there. Eating, drinking, dancing. Not a single worry in the world. I was sad to leave. We had turned that place into a bangin’ party.
Next, we went to Hooters, but I’m going to leave this part out of the story.
Our final stop was “Walking Street”. A road lined with bars and strip clubs. It reminded me of a mix between Fremont Street in Vegas, the party strip in Playa Del Carmen, and Two Notch Rd. Everyone said it was the “Red Light” district, so I was thinking women standing in windows with the bed in the back waiting for a man to waltz in and shut the curtain like in Amsterdam, but it wasn’t close. We headed back around midnight to make sure we were well-rest for the most important part of the weekend, Maya Music Festival.
Now, I haven’t been to a 100% EDM lineup festival since EDC Orlando my junior year of college. The thought of going back and being in a place I often found myself, made me feel the warmth of youthfulness. So I put on my glitter, jorts and dancing shoes, ready to boogie. It was a refreshing feeling to be at a show where I didn’t care what they were playing or waiting to hear what came next. There wasn’t big expectations set like at a jam show.
We headed to my friend from Irmo/Chucktown, Sydney’s AirBnB. I am lucky/bless/elated to see my two Squids on almost back to back weekends. She had an entire house with a pool near the festival. It was awesome to reconnect and meet other young teachers. Everytime, I meet new people I find some sort of connection. I am reminded daily how small the world truly is. (This sentence will continue to grace every one of my blog posts).
Looking around at the number of people and realizing the house was not in a populated area, I had no idea how we were going to make it to the festival. As we walked out there was a guy with a huge van. We haggled with him into taking us. We crammed 17 people in this van. He only charged us 400 baht total which is a little less than 50 cents a person.
The festival started at 1PM, but we arrived around 3:30ish. The place was deserted. When I say there was 30 people there max, that isn’t an exaggeration. More people came as the night fell, but still not many. The lineup had HUGE names too. We didn’t care though, because we had so much space to play and dance. Also, it made it easy to never lose eachother. We were able to stand right up front at the rail the entire night. The photographers put cameras in our face the entire festival. We all have cameos on the live stream which is pretty hilarious.
Best set of the evening goes to ……….. Deadmau5. I started listening to Joel in about tenth grade. I had been waiting for this moment since I was 16 years old. I have seen a lot of music over the years. I don’t even want to know the number of shows or the price tag that is currently on this addiction. I have seen pretty much anyone and everyone, but never Deadmau5. The second he came on, Hannah and I turned to each other and screamed like 13 year old girls who just walked past Nick Jonas in 2008.
He has two songs that really resonated with me, “I Remember” a collab he did with Kaskade and “The Veldt”. “The Veldt” is based on a short story Ray Bradbury. I have a very special memory that relates to the story and it deserves a read. Especially, if you like shows like Black Mirror or the book 1984 by George Orwell.
Here is the link if you’d like to check it out: The Veldt By Ray Bradbury
Robin Shulz and Madeon were my next two favorites. My biggest let down was Flume. Don’t get me wrong I definitely enjoyed it, but it was “Flumey” enough like past sets I’ve seen. He would mix like random Kanye songs in and out of his own jams and it just wasn’t cohesive to me.
When you go to festivals you ALWAYS make festie friends. And if you don’t you aren’t doing it right. We met this dope girl and her friends who live in Bangkok. Literally the cutest human ever. We ended up dancing and chatting the entire night. Overall, 11/10 festival. I wish more people would have showed up because they really missed out on amazing music and world class production.
The following morning, we slept in, soaking in the last bits of our cozy room in the sky. Once, we were ready, we made our way back to “Sand Bar by the Sea” for, yes, a third and final time. Sadly, we parted ways back to the bus station to buy a ticket home. We ended up being on the same bus with our friends we spent the weekend with. It was an ordinary ride that (almost) ended in heartache.
An amazing weekend ended with me losing two of my most prized possessions. The second I got on the BTS I realized they weren’t with me. My The Celestine Prophecy book and travel journal. I didn’t blog during my last trip across three continents, so I have nothing to fall back on. My journal is filled with poetry and words that cannot be replicated or replaced. It is filled with remnants of plane tickets, subway cards and luggage tags. It was from a time in my life where I was dealing with so much and yet I still found a way to shine positivity onto those pages and it is all gone. The other is a book that I have read over and over again for the last few years, filled with highlights and underlines and tid-bits of thoughts in the margins. I live by the philosophies outlined in the text. Each time I read it, I learn more and more about the universe and receive so much clarity. I can see different parts of me as a grow through what strikes me as relevant each time I read it. I immediately emailed the address on my ticket. Continuously refreshing my account longing for a response. Nothing.
By lunchtime the next day I had given up hope. I thought I wouldn’t be able to write this post or even start a new journal. I was defeated because my carelessness. I decided to try another email address. THEY GOT BACK TO ME IN MINUTES. My stuff had landed back in Pattaya. They said they would put it on the next bus to Bangkok and I could pick it that afternoon. Immediately after school, I made my way to the station which is over an hour from my house. I stopped, got a burger and strawberry shortcake then trained back home. All worth it. Lesson learned, always double triple check you have what’s most important with you.
***Sorry for the photo quality. I left my memory card in my computer at home :'(***
I created a Spotify Playlist of all the artists who were at MAYA Festival. Hope you enjoy!