It's Christmas morning here in Thailand. From my friends apartment I can here the cars rush by, the pigeons cooing, and some dogs fight down the street. The weather outside is a cool 87 with a slight breeze and sunny. I'm sure that later when I make a trip to the Big C (the big grocery store) I will not have to wait in any ridiculous lines of frantic people buying last minute cans of cranberry sauce, nor will I have to worry that any stores are closed down for the day. There's a few areas that hold beautiful decorations and attempt to celebrate the Christian holiday, but here in Thailand, it's pretty much just another day.
On Christmas Eve I made my way from the tiny town of Wang Chan to the big city of Chachoengsao. My trip was more like an adventure. First I board the bus to Chon Buri. I think "I can relax, the bus won't stop until it gets to the bus station! I'll know when it's my stop!" Oh - I know better than to think transportation in Thailand is easy. First we stop at a gas station. I don't need food, a drink, or to go to the bathroom - so I decide to stay put and read my book. But then the bus man comes over and says "You - 20 minutes" and motions for me to leave the bus. So I leave the bus. Next, we're back on our way to Chon Buri. I see a few signs saying its near. We pull over on one of the main busy streets. The bus man yells something in Thai that sounds like Chon Buri but only 1 person exited the bus - so I thought "this can't be the main stop". I stay on the bus. A minute later bus man comes up to me "You - Chon Buri" - "Me, Yes" - "You, get off" - "WHAT?" - Apparently that side of the street was the bus station and I was no longer welcome on this bus. So I was shoved off a bit late on a strange street. So I began to walk back. After a few minutes I ran into a man next to a bus. He said "I help you." It was a statement, not a question. I looked lost. I say "Bai Chachoengsao". He points at bus - "You get on" - "Nee tao rai?" (how much) - He looks at another girl, looks back at me "You get on bus". Don't have to tell me three times! So I got on the ghetto bus, no other farangs here. There was however a comedian tv program playing. With my limited Thai knowledge, I was able to decipher that the comedian liked to make fun of farangs - and the people on the bus found him hilarious. This bus ride started out pleasant enough, until the elderly man started to sleep, his head started to bob dangerously close to my shoulder, and his knees kept bumping into me. The bus would turn and he'd jerk awake, smile, and then return to sleeping, bobbing, and bumping into me. It was a tense ride.
But then I arrived in wonderful Chachoengsao where I met up with my friend Hayley. She took my to her friends Christmas party where we ate pasta and mashed potatoes, drank Christmas punch, and listening to Christmas music whilst wearing Santa hats. It wasn't too shabby of a day. :)
But today is Christmas. Today I will help tutor a Thai student, make an adventure run to the Big C, eat some peanut butter (it's been 2 months since I've had it!), and enjoy the wonderful company of friends this year. MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYBODY!
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Video of my mad Santa moves at school for the Christmas program!