It’s one week until Christmas Day. In Bangkok, all shopping malls are filled with Christmas and New Year’s decorations, there is Christmas shopping advertising everywhere and the Christmas songs keep on coming through the speaker boxes. Yet, I cannot feel it. Not that I’m usually a Christmas lover – I’m actually quite a Grinch – but I still like the feeling of Christmas and the period leading up to Christmas. Where in Europe Christmas lights decorate an otherwise cold and gloomy place, here, there are Christmas lights while it’s still 25 degrees at night. Starbucks is selling Christmas specials like peppermint mocha, toffee nut late and gingerbread latte, but it doesn’t match with the hot temperatures. I know it’s a geographical relativity thing, but it feels weird to me… Especially since Thailand is predominantly a Buddhist country, and yet, it’s the commercial aspect of it that seems to be emphasised. My Thai friends told me that they don’t really celebrate and even New Year’s Eve just means family time (it’s the Chinese New Year that gets the grand celebration here [correction: it’s Songkran that get the biggest celebration – thanks, Bea!]).
Working for an American international development NGO means that I will get both the Thai national holidays as well as some of the American/Western holidays, meaning that I will have over ten days off! Since now is the right time to make that beautiful dive trip, I have decided to go on a Similan Islands liveaboard! The Similans are in the top ten best dive sites on earth according to National Geographic and the National Park in which the islands are situated is only opened to visitors from November until May. Perfect timing! I might go for the PADI Rescue Diver course as well while I’m there. So, no white Christmas for me this year. But, it will be a very WET Christmas! And instead of Christmas grinching, there’ll be lots of grinning! 🙂