First of all - a very Merry Christmas to you all!
It's 7.30am on Christmas morning in Bangkok, we've been awake since 5.30am (from jetlag, not child-like anticipation!) and I'm actually now sat in bed writing this entry, but with one eye watching National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation on our other laptop. I, of course, insisted on bringing plenty of Christmas movies and music if I was being made to spend Christmas away from home. But I'm not sure anything can make it feel like Christmas when it's already 30°C outside.
Kav on the other hand, after popping out to 7Eleven to get our Christmas breakfast of vacuum packed chocolate and custard filled breads and cartons of orange juice, has just left to go to a huge market on the other side of town to take some photos.
I must say, it doesn't really feel like Christmas Day today. Even though there are some sporadic Christmas decorations around the city and a few shops playing Christmas tunes (more for the tourists), the Thai's of course don't really celebrate it, so it's very easy to forget that it is in fact Christmas. However, we're going to enjoy the day in our own 'Bangkok way' and look forward to our amazing dinner we have planned tonight.
The last few days haven't exactly been the best so far for me. Unfortunately, for a few days before we left the UK I had a cough brewing, which after a cold journey to the airport in just a thin jumper (because I couldn't bring a massive coat on our trip!), a 6 hour delay before take-off due to technical difficulties and a 10 hour plane journey, resulted in me waking up on our first morning with a stinking cold and cough and generally feeling awful. So, in order to get rid of it as quickly as possible and for fear of stepping out into the heat and humidity and fainting, I stayed in bed all day, miserable and delirious with fever. Kav was wonderful and nursed me with hot tea, Beechams and Vicks and I just about made it out for dinner to a place on the next street called Cabbages and Condoms, a restaurant started by a charity who promote safe sex to children and communities across Thailand and who aptly adorn their beautiful al fresco eatery with multi coloured condom decorations including chandeliers, and a condom Christmas tree and Santa Claus! I couldn't really taste the food, however, I'm told it was good, but not as good as the random back street places we prefer to find ourselves.
For example, last night we took a trip back over to China Town and managed to not only find our way walking from Hua Lamphong metro station to China Town with complete ease, but we managed to find the same fantastic restaurant that we ate at 2 years ago and have talked about ever since! Walking past you probably wouldn't want to go in or assume the food was any good but it's pretty much some of the best Chinese food we've ever tasted. A couple of years ago, when we were on a budget we had to be careful what we spent and ate, however last night we went for the full whole duck which was beautifully tender and carved into chunks covered in a delicious sweet sauce, some of the best Hong Kong style noodles I've ever had, fried rice and various dims - and all for a fabulous £20! What is so amazing for us is that not only were we lucky enough to have these experiences 2 years ago, but we've been even more fortunate to be able to do it again on a much healthier budget and enjoy it all over again.
During the day yesterday I felt well enough for us to take a wander around the main shopping centres in Siam and I was staggered at how I felt like I'd only been there a few weeks ago and how well I remembered my way around them, and the feeling of familiarity, and belonging almost, to the city. Apart from London, I really don't think there is a city around the world that I've been to where I've felt so safe and relaxed. The Thai's are such welcoming people without being imposing or intrusive and even though the city has it's negatives, it still is a remarkable place. I love the thousands of different street stalls serving all kinds of weird and wonderful foods, some with a few old plastic tables and chairs serving the locals and very brave tourists(!), the huge diversity of buildings, the tuk-tuks and pink taxis, the evening buzz of locals and tourists out and about, and guessing if the ladies on the corners are 'looking for a friend' or if in fact they are a 'lady' or not and how easy it is to get around and find your way. I'm glad we'll have a few more days here before we come home in February as it gives us time to go see the temples that we've not done before and we're also going to do some serious bargin shopping!
So back to today, Christmas Day. I'm sure you are all having a wonderful time with friends and family and Kav and I both send you all our love. I'm not sure I would want to spend Christmas away again, but it certainly is an adventure. It makes you appreciate how special the day is in terms of being surrounded by the ones you love and forgetting all the material undertones, and I think in the future I will definitely remember that most.
In the meantime however, Kav and I are booked to have an ultra indulgent meal at Sirocco, the highest al fresco restaurant and bar in the world. Only in Bangkok would they allow such an open and 'unsafe' area on top of a skyscraper! If you want to check out the view, take a look here - http://www.lebua.com/en/the-dome-dining/sirocco-restaurant/. I'll let you know how that went in my next blog, but I think I can safely say that once I'm up there I'll need a few stiff drinks to calm my over sensitive nerves and vertigo stomach!
Tomorrow we will be packing up all our stuff and heading to the train station to get an overnight train south to Chumpon where we will transfer to a coach and then ferry and will arrive in the morning on the beautiful island of Ko Tao where we will be for New Year until January 2nd.
Merry Christmas and have a wonderful day,
All our love,
Sally and Kav xxx