Like no other Christmas
Spending Christmas away from family and in a predominantly Buddhist country could be a lonely experience but actually it ended up being quite amusing. First of all, our friend Robert Schwarz from South Pole joined us so it was nice to have company for the holidays. He and I went out on Christmas Eve day to do some last minute shopping and look what he found:
We thought we left ECW gear far behind us but we found a store where you can buy a Canada Goose big red parka with a "Canada Goose Arctic Program" patch on it. Here in Thailand you can buy knock-offs of anything from any name brand article of clothing to DVDs of new movies showing in theaters to Rolex watches. I had no idea there would be any demand for down parkas here but then again, it probably doesn't have real down in it. It's only 2700 baht (roughly 90 bucks) so you can get your own big red if you're nostalgic about your old issued gear.
The only aspect about Christmas that seems to be of any importance here in Thailand is the tacky commercial shopping part.
All of the traditional carols play non-stop in all of the businesses and tree decorating has ascended to a whole new level.
We weren't too concerned with trying to recreate a traditional Christmas Eve celebration in Bangkok although plenty of upscale hotels and restaurants offered fancy turkey and roast beef dinners for tourists and ex-pats.
Instead we had seafood in a coconut and other scrumptious dishes at a fabulous restaurant called Cabbages and Condoms, a very elegant Thai dining establishment with a mission. Part of the Population and Community Development Association, proceeds from the restaurant and gift shop go to support programs to raise awareness about family planning and to promote condom use.
This place has outstanding food, a good cause and a great sense of humor.
Santa is decked out in a suit made from condoms.
And next to him are his caped super hero elves.
This one also has body armor made of birth control pill packets.
And of course their Christmas tree is festively covered in prophylactics.
After dinner, our check indeed came with condoms instead of mints. This display offered more but I have no idea what they're trying to imply with their choices. The "Democrat" size was in a plain white wrapper and manufactured in South Korea while the "Republican" size came in a rainbow colored wrapper covered with Thai writing.
Notice that our table has condoms under the glass. I thought it was a perfect way to spend Christmas Eve and if you can't spend it with family, might as well surround yourself with a little family planning instead.