21 December 2006
'Tis the season to be spending
Weather in Thailand is delicious in December--surprisingly cool, in the mid twenties (upper seventies if you still use Fahrenheit). While I throw the windows open and walk the house in my shorts, Thai people bundle themselves up in down jackets and turtleneck sweaters. I actually saw a woman with a wool scarf around her neck today. We have one blanket at home, and it always comes out in December, although I do not get to use it since Nut wraps himself up like a mummy all night.
The amount of crap that I somehow managed to bring to Bangkok from California years ago is astonishing... photo albums, bun pans that are too big for my petite Thai oven, sheets that don't fit my bed, books that I have never opened since they were unpacked, and two boxes of Christmas things. I have an annual ritual of actually opening these boxes and looking inside, deciding that it is all too much trouble, and vowing not to be so lazy next year. In this box are a string of Christmas tree lights from the 1940's that belonged to my grandmother, samples of every Christmas card I sent since 1972, and small framed photos of friends lost to AIDS that I used to hang on my trees in my long-gone San Francisco days.
Last Sunday I had to hold back the tears as I pushed my cart around the supermarket. I have not heard Christmas music for a long time. These songs, so ubiquitous in retail places back home during the Jolly Season, are not widely heard in this part of the world, although there seem to be giant fake Christmas trees everywhere you look this year. Christmas and Hanukkah are non-events even though several major streets are decorated with spectacular lights to celebrate the King's birthday and the new year.
Thai retailers have tried their best to get people hooked on Christmas but it has not worked. No cards. No real trees, except in the Peninsula hotel, which has a huge fresh fir tree every year. No retail pressure. No guilt. No credit card debt. While I do not normally miss Christmas much I am missing it this year. Nut, my darling boyfriend, has never experienced snow and every winter he becomes more insistent about taking a trip to see the fluffy white stuff. While I can't imagine why anyone would really want to schlog through freezing urban slush, I have vowed not to be so lazy next year. Christmas in Denver? Oh boy! Who needs December in Bangkok?