Mattopia Jones and the Pandemic Thaiphoon
Photo taken with the iPhone 13 Pro Max (#ShotOniPhone)

Koh Samui, Thailand
31 December 2021

Mattskrit Notes: New Year’s Eve

Matty was staying at the Chaweng Resort in Samui in a spacious beachfront bungalow.

Because of the pandemic, things were pretty quiet in Samui, but it was still a good time. A whirlwind tour captured some of the key sites on the island.

Initially, while starting to plan out this trip, the name “Koh Samui” didn’t ring a bell. When he visited Luang Por Daeng, however, it started to register. Luang Por Daeng is a mummified monk on display in a glass case under a canopy at Wat Kunaram. That visual made an impression and it seems Matty did hear about Samui quite a few years ago — likely on a show such as Taboo on the National Geographic Channel.

It was a mellow New Year’s Eve. Matty told us of having a great dinner followed by an extra round of beverages. The weather was great and the outside seating was plentiful. So, Matty asked himself, why not cut loose a bit? It’s New Year’s Eve and all he has to do is walk back to the bungalow and usher in the new eyar with some beachside relaxation. He then proceeded to do something that is a wholly different kind of personal taboo for the good doctor. He had an extra round of beverages — only mixing it up this time. Literally.

He couldn’t recount off the top of his head what all he had consumed. But we were in luck.

We were given rare — really, really rare access — to Dr. Jones’ almost illegible scribblings and we found this juicy note:

“For the biographers to digest
New Year’s Eve:
Stacked Burger: 2 pints of Singha (draught)
Duke Pub: 2 pints of Singha (draught)
Lipsmackers Restaurant and Bar:
1 Thai Mojito (Whisky)
1 Mai Thai
2 Margaritas”

We’ll take his word for it that he soaked it all up with some food at both Stacked Burger and Lipsmackers.

Once back at the resort, Matty relaxed in the relative cool of the beach breeze and watched a few minutes of Raiders of the Lost Ark on his iPad as the new year approached.

Then he looked up and marveled at the stars on full display.

And a recollection popped into his head.

Back in college in Boulder, he took an astronomy class. He said it was Astronomy 101, but they were teaching it like all the students were prepping for their NASA candidacy. He was — understandably — a little annoyed.

Particularly annoying were the TA's. One of whom, on an exam, wrote in red letters at the top of Matty’s test: “Do you ever look at the sky at night?”

Rude. So rude.

Apparently that was an obnoxious reaction to Matty having referenced Orion one time too many on questions asking to identify which constellations appeared during which part of the year.

And yet, here he was. New Year’s Eve. Samui, Thailand.

Up above, looking right back at him, was Orion.

The new year was ushered in on the beach with Dr. Jones, some fireworks and a smile.

On New Year’s Day, he participated in a speedboat tour of Mu Ko Ang Thong National Park, which he dubbed “The Vomitorious Speedboat Adventure.” But that’s a whole story in itself.

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