We had a few extra days after Krabi and went to see a Muay Thai boxing night in Bangkok. It felt ridiculous walking in. There were children in the ring, and they were tiny! Little kids! A second look, though revealed they weren't happy go lucky children. They were lean. Very very lean. And if the weight column of my pamphlet was to be believed, they were all 100kg+ of muscle. That's a lot of muscle for 13 year olds. Still, watching them wave their arms about as the bell dinged in an old school parody of boxing still felt ridiculous. Is this what Muay Thai is?
We sat ringside, in blue plastic bucket seats. There was a live band playing over the PA system to add to the ridiculous, some kind of spiritual-esque tune with bells, a bongo and a recorder. They upped the pace, and it got more urgent the longer the fight went on.
There were men sitting in the stands, and every time the kid in red smashed the kid in blue, they cheered. They were loud, and the cheering frequent. I felt terrible, the poor kid in the blue was hugging the ropes, he got one good kick in before the kid in red had him close and held him down as he brought his knee up. It was hard to watch. I was uncomfortable. Bang, another knee into the stomach. I cringed at the flash of pain from Blue, before the umpire pulled them apart. It was hard to watch Blues head flick back as it's punched by Red.
I look away. This was brutal. People were cheering, the recorder and bongo were still playing, and poor Blue was being pommeled. It go so bad that eventually I pulled out Zee's phone as a distraction, to have something else to look at.
The bell rang, match over. Everyone settled down a bit while the new fighters set in. I discovered flappy bird and aimed for a score other than '0'.
I could still hear though. The cheering from the men in the stands, shouting out their odds. The bell dinged, match on. The ridiculous music started up. I heard Zee next to me, with an empathetic 'oo'. I heard a glove hit flesh over and over. The crowd collectively gasped and I looked up.
Blue was on the ground, lying very very still. Before the replay is even up there's a stretcher out, and Blue is strapped in, carted off. Red's arm is held in the air in victory.
The replay was shown in big screens over the ring. It was one jab by Red to the temple, and Blue was down. I felt sick. Jaipetch vs Petchmongkol was only event #3. The main event (Ambas vs Jak) is event number #8. A good two hours away at this point.
As each fight went on the boys got older and heavier. The fighting more brutal. Punches caused groans. I never got used to sound of glove hitting flesh over and over. It was horrible, I hated it and I felt like I was the only one. Everyone else was drinking beer and buying crisps like it was good entertainment. For as long as I could, I kept my head down and flapped a little flappy bird away.
In the end I watched the big boys fight. Grown ups who had trained themselves to hit hard and cause damage. I can't remember who won, but I know my flappy bird personal best was 12.