You'd think that thousands of miles away from any country that celebrates Christmas as a tradition, it would be difficult to be reminded of the time of year. Before coming here my respond would be, "Sure, maybe some knowledge of the holiday but they wouldn't decorate or anything.". I would be wrong. Very wrong. The Thai's not only decorate for Christmas, they go all out. Hard. Lights are everywhere, there are people wearing santa hats, dressed in green and red, and worst of all..Christmas music. Not just music though. Jingle Bells, on 'repeat' of course, sung by a person who cannot pronounce the words with a strange southeast Asia vibe to it. Needless to say, they don't really understand any of it except for Santa and presents. But honestly, that's okay. It was a little taste of home on the other side of the world. Some of our Thai friends went out of their way to makes us feel welcome and loved. Overall, it has been one of the more wonderful holiday seasons I've lived through.
Thailand blends their New Year (which is the same as ours) into Christmas and have a competition for who can give the biggest and most expensive present. It was off-putting to say the least. Though I now have a keen understanding of all the other cultures in the world that get just a little bitter when their own beliefs and celebrations are not respected. The schools do not release their teachers on Christmas and expect them to work and teach. The holiday break is only three days long, the longest public holiday in Thailand. Cities are deserted. EVERYONE goes somewhere. Many back to their homes in the country, some to other cities, other countries, or even islands. We chose the last one. Not a horrible decision if I say so.
Snorkeling in corral reefs? Awesome. Riding about on longboats with crazy Thai pirates? Amazing. Eating seafood that has been caught roughly an hour prior? Appetizing. Sleeping in a bungalow made of bamboo on white sand beaches? Astounding. Thinking of to many 'a' based adjectives and then using them? Annoying.