Float like a social butterfly, drink like a bee (or something like that)

For a guy who claims to completely disdain “It” crowd, high society events, I seem to be going to a lot of them lately. And for some reason, this past week I had apparently forgotten that I can no longer hold my liquor like the 20-year old frat boy I once was, but rather more like the 16-year old cheerleader on wine coolers that I now am.

It all started when I was invited by my long-time friend Anchalika to join her at the opening of Fogovivo, self-described as an “Authentic Brazilian Churrascaria Restaurant & Bar”, which in Paul’s English means BBQ joint. I jumped at the chance to go, not so much because I like bar launches or even Brazilian food so much, but because I haven’t seen my friend in almost 6 years.

When I got there, I thought “Nice place, decent crowd, a little bit too much cigarette smoke, but it works for me.” I called up Anchalika, who told me she was on the downstairs level. Hrmm…downstairs, the bar is pretty much the right size; a downstairs might make the place too big.

You have no friggin’ idea.

Cavernous doesn’t begin to describe the place. Try Bat Cave. The place was teeming with perhaps the most diverse group of people I’ve seen in Bangkok to date (Thais, Americans, Europeans, and of course, Brazilians). And smoke. Lots and lots of break-out-the-Visine-my-eyes-are-melting smoke. And not from the cigarettes, but from the BBQ beef that the restaurant was grilling all night long. My hair was gonna reek of cigarettes and charred beef before the night was through.

Hanging out with Anchalika was a pure joy, as was schmoozing with her friends, and even more surprisingly, my friends (not so surprising that I have friends, but that my friends and I get invited to the cool kid parties too). My enthusiasm managed to get the best of me, as my vodka tonic and glass of white wine were soon joined by a scotch and soda, a glass of champagne, and 4 more glasses of wine, all on an empty stomach. Amidst the rolling high seas that I found myself on, I was suddenly struck by divine inspiration: “Next time eat first, dumbass.”

The next day’s hangover was pretty brutal, and I decided to sleep in a lot longer than usual. The thing that loomed in the back of my incessantly pounding head was the fact that 1) I had meetings that afternoon that I couldn’t avoid, and 2) Anchalika’s company was having a party/celebration commemorating the success of its latest resort development. To go, or not to go? If I go, will I be able to resist the temptation to drink?

I popped a few Tylenols and managed to drag my ass over to both my meetings and the Aleenta party. For those either interested in or not familiar with Thailand’s 5-star spa resorts, Aleenta was one of the first down in the still relatively pristine beaches of Pranburi (along the coastline south of Bangkok and Hua Hin). A product of love (and her nest egg), Anchalika’s resort proved wildly popular, and spawned several competitors. Aleenta received many rave reviews, and even hosted David Beckham and his Posh Tart during their visit to Thailand (Anchalika even managed to get him to film a commercial for her resort). I won’t go into it too much; visit the webpage.

To commemorate the achievement of having sold out 70% of their villas, Aleenta threw a posh and amazingly elegant shindig, complete with buffet, open bar, and jazz band. It was much like attending a Thai-style wedding cocktail reception, except 1) it was a lot classier than most receptions I’ve attended, 2) the food was so much better than most receptions I’ve attended (hint: throw your wedding cocktail receptions at the Conrad Hotel; the chicken yakitori rocks), and 3) it was a lot less crowded than most wedding receptions. Unfortunately this last point was disappointing for Anchalika, as this event was as much a promotional/public relations event as it was a party. the turnout was decent, but not blockbuster.

The truly disappointing thing was that Aleenta made a sizable donation to the WWF (the World Wide Fund, not the World Wrestling Federation) for the preservation of sea turtles, and no one gave a rat’s ass. They handed these really cute plush turtles as souvenirs, and the President of the WWF (a European-looking fellow who spoke amazingly flawless, jaw-droppingly fluent Thai) gave a fascinating presentation on the various sea turtles inhabiting the waters off of the Gulf of Thailand and the Andaman Sea. And what did the hoi palloi of Bangkok do through out the presentation? Chat, gossip, eat, drink, anything but listen to the poor guy who obviously spent a lot of time preparing for the presentation. Welcome to Thailand, Land of Disinterested Smiles.

Where I drank far too much the first night, I was in danger of eating way to much the next. But the food was sooooooo damn good (and free to boot, so who could blame me?). Eventually, I did cave in and had one drink: a white chocolate martini that is served at Anchalika’s resort. It was pretty tasty, but strong. I could feel the vodka threatening to stir up the queasiness I had been fighting all day. I finished my drink, said my goodbyes, and headed home to kiss the wife, drink some juice, and soothe the tummy

Back to the hermit’s life, and lovin’ it.

2 Comments so far

  1. Carl (unregistered) on November 27th, 2004 @ 6:35 pm

    Just looked at your personal blogspot and was very impressed with your writing, and all the bells and whistles. You’ve really got the image posting down to a fine science, integrated with your writing. Nice job. I look forward to this new Bangkok Metroblog and your contributions!

  2. Sonia (unregistered) on August 26th, 2005 @ 4:14 pm

    Nice Picture…
    Aleenta is a part of heaven!
    We stayed in Penthouse which offers a wonderful view point on the beach.
    Yoga retreat is perfect for holidays followed by a wine dinner…in one word…perfect!

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