We first imagined this post being entitled Wishing You a Very Chinese Christmas, but a quick decision five days ago altered our trajectory and landed us in sunny Bangkok instead.
Visiting Thailand for the holidays may sound cliché. It conjures images of hordes of pasty westerners flocking to the beach and large chunks of the male persuasion indulging in Thailand’s infamous “female services.”
Regardless, landing here for the holidays somehow feels appropriate for us.
We thank the Qingdao outpost of the Chinese Police Security Bureau (PSB) for pushing us to do what we knew was right all along: traveling with – and not against – the seasons. We just needed a little nudge. After two months in China, our Chinese visas were about to expire and we hoped to apply for an extension. While we could have managed the paperwork and expense to extend it for 30 days, we decided the same money would be better spent getting a new visa for 60-90 days. We would also be better served returning to China in late spring as the weather warms and mountain passes begin to open.
Home For Christmas
This is our third Christmas in Thailand in the last four years. In Bangkok, we have our favorite neighborhood where we can get dim sum and Thai coffee for breakfast. We know where to get the best curries on the street. Oh, and the sunshine, warmth, cheap massages, endless varieties of fruit shakes and Thai smiles don’t hurt either.
So, while Bangkok is not the stuff of White Christmas dreams, our arrival here constitutes a return to our Asian home for the holidays.
Our plan now is to visit Myanmar and Malaysia, parts of Southeast Asia we missed earlier in our journey. Then we’ll head to the Indian subcontinent to travel northward from Sri Lanka to Nepal. Though this doesn’t bear repeating, our itinerary is likely to evolve continually. After all, just a few days ago, we expected to be hanging with the pandas in Chengdu, China for Christmas.
So from our temporary home to yours, we wish you a joyful and peaceful Christmas holiday.
A Note on the Photo: The lead photo above comes to us courtesy of Dan’s niece and nephew and a winter storm that buried upstate New York earlier this month. For a twist, his niece and nephew topped their snowman with a kalpak (traditional Kyrgyz felt hat).
On a related note of trivia, a Swedish group (with a lot of time on their hands) recently performed a study to determine the location on Earth from which Santa could most efficiently base his operations. “Where?” you ask. Kyrgyzstan, of course.