It's Beginning to Look Somewhat Like Christmas

For a country that's 95% Buddhist, Thailand sure is getting into the Christmas spirit. Major malls and tourist attractions are erecting enormous trees with thousands of lights, such as this one at King Power. Many business establishments have decorated with strings of garland and lights. Color varies, but purple seems to be quite popular. I find this particularly amusing since Thais don't get a single day off for the holiday. (Lucky for me, my school is American/British-owned and closes for three weeks. I'm going back to the States to meet my new niece or nephew that's due in five days!)

'Tis the season for Oktoberfest as well. Open-air beer gardens with live music are springing up all over town. The "winter" nights--slightly cool and breezy--are perfect for knocking back pints outside, which is probably why they postpone the celebration for a couple of months. A group of us went to one the other night on top of a building and at eye-level to the sky train.

I think Thais must adopt every holiday they can for an excuse to celebrate and indulge their love of fun. And who can fault them for that? They celebrate three New Years: the one on December 31, Chinese New Year in February, and Thai New Year (Songkran) April 13-15. For their own, the country basically shuts down for a week and people run around the streets drenching each other with water. I've been advised by other ex-pats to get on the first train out of town, but my students love this festival.