Few days more to go and I will be wrapping up my fun-filled, twelve-day Christmas holiday which almost every going-on just came out of the blue. Breathtaking escapade at Sichang Island, world-rocking clubbing at Sriracha, exciting cruise at Chao Phraya River, knowledge-enhancing photo shoot and butt-hurting biking at Ancient Siam, blue-themed New Year countdown at Khaosan Road and fat-reducing disco at Shamrock Irish Pub – everything happened contrary to my early plan to stay in my room for the entire holiday.
Looking back at those series of restless activities, I couldn’t imagine how those things happened. All I could remember is it started with a nostalgic Christmas Eve when I was all alone in my room and couldn't call my family way back home because of network problems. It’s quite strange how I could still be emotionally affected with this once-a-year family Christmas reunion when in fact it’s not new to me since it’s my third time to celebrate Christmas miles away from my family.
Looking for someone whom I could divert this wistful feeling, I called my friends about ten o’clock in the evening. They were so surprised to receive my late-at-night call informing that I am coming to celebrate Christmas with them. “It’s late at night, how will you come here?” “There’s no bus from the bus station going here this time.” – They sounded like they were worried and puzzled of my eleventh-hour notice. After all, their place is about two to three hours bus ride from Bangkok.
Honestly, I didn't know how to get there that time but all I knew was I wanted to save myself from drowning into the nostalgic ocean of tears on the eve of the celebration. I hurriedly packed my things, took a taxi and went to the bus station when I suddenly realized that it’s past twelve midnight already. “What am I going to do at the bus station at this time?” – That’s the question which spontaneously came into my mind. “Should I go back to my room? I couldn't imagine myself watching at the ceiling thinking of the Christmas celebration back home.” Christmas is one of the most spectacular celebrations in the entire Philippines. Instead of going back to my room, I asked the taxi driver to bring me to Silom Road. At least, I could enjoy a cup of coffee and mill around the night bazaar along Patpong Street until two in the morning when I could move out for the bus station and take a bus going to my friends’ place. And it just happened. I got on the bus at three and left for Sriracha, Chonburi at four and arrived there about seven in the morning.
Left with nothing to do in my friends' house I suggested a day trip to Sichang Island. They were reluctant to go with me especially that the other one has just recovered from pandemic chickenpox. I guessed they were just forced to go with me because they’re guilty that I had traveled numbers of kilometers just to get there (hahahaha!). Thank you George and Krishna for being with me in body and soul although I knew that you did not enjoy much in those museums and historical parks in the island but I knew we all had a great time at the beach and we should have made it even better if we were able to witness the setting of the sun.
The views at Sichang Island were so relaxing and the water at the beach was so clear. I enjoyed hopping from one place of the island to another while on board at Thailand’s famous tuktuk (taxicab which has three wheels) and taking pictures at those breathtaking views. The food was also awesome and affordable. I was so happy to have met those accommodating settlers of the island. I began to miss my island-province in the Philippines which is also surrounded with plenty of islets. After a relaxing stay at the beach, we hurried to the port so we could catch up the last boat for Sriracha and we just did.
I thought it would end up until there – I was initially clueless that a night is not a night without night-life. “It’s still Christmas. Let’s party at cool club,” I suggested. “Phil, don’t be too aggressive. We just arrived from the island. We should have it tomorrow,” exclaimed George. “Don’t kill the fun. Yeah let’s party tonight,” Krishna butted in. And we really turned the night into a lively morning as we tirelessly jammed with the Thai band (although we didn’t understand their songs) with our newly-found Thai friends and the same thing happened the following night although I was not up at going at cool club again because I became a curse of Krishna and George the other night. You know, they were well-dressed for the party but they just ended up as rescuers of their vain friend who swallowed all the shame during the night (anyway, nobody knows who’s who there except for the lady who clearly remembered the face of the night). The following day, I went back to Bangkok thinking of a perfect rest.
The following Sunday morning I was at the lounge facing the computer editing the pictures I’ve taken at Sichang Island when my phone suddenly rang. Christian’s calling – he is a Danish guy who is the boyfriend of my classmate who in Denmark. Christian was in Bangkok for holiday and he’s inviting to the floating market. He called the following day and we agreed to meet at the Thaksin Bridge BTS Station for I was thinking that it's the nearest BTS station to the Southern bus terminal where we could get into a bus going to the floating market. However, he was hooked to the Chao Phraya River Cruise as he saw it while waiting for us and so we had the river tour at Chao Phraya instead of going to the floating market. We stopped over the snake farm and witnessed the snake show wherein snakes of different kinds extremely horrified the three of us. After that soothing cruise and daunting snake show, Christian went back to his place as he had to prepare for his Thai boxing class at five o’clock. I and my friend Donna went to Siam Paragon to hunt for subjects for photography which was followed by bookstore hopping. We went to Asia Books at Siam paragon then to Chulalongkorn University Bookstore and then to Bookazine at Siam Square. I could see Donna’s face almost succumbed because of boredom. She had been complaining but I was too insistent so she had no choice but to read with me. That’s what I love in Bangkok’s bookstores – you could read books for free.
The following day was a rest day for me but the party went on at night with a group of Boholanos at Impact Muang Thong Thani. The night was filled with fun and my Bol-anon friends somehow eased my homesickness as we shared the laughter and delectable Filipino food with the famous mouth-watering “lechon baboy” on the dining table.
The next day, I woke up so late for I slept at six o’clock in the morning already since the party ended up almost four o’clock as everybody enjoyed the food, drinks, games, sing-a-long (with English, Tagalog and Visayan songs) and other fun activities.
However waking up late was not an excuse from escaping out for I hurriedly got up for a biking fun with Donna at the Ancient Siam in Samutprakan province. My butt was so hurt and I could still feel the pain right now but it’s nothing for exploring Thai culture and tradition was so refreshing at Ancient Siam. I also got some good pictures at the park and applied new photography ideas and techniques. Thank you Donna for teaching me some techniques! You take good pictures, indeed.
From Ancient Siam, we went home about ten o’clock in the evening already for we dropped by at the night market to buy some clothes for our blue-themed New Year countdown at Khaosan Road. We hurriedly prepared as we got home and went directly to Khaosan Road for the New Year countdown and I met Christian again. It was my first time to join an actual countdown and it was fun! I could feel the global community at Khaosan Road and people of different nationalities happily wished a wonderful new year to each and everyone. I felt like I had known those Caucasians I met there as we plainly greeted and kissed each other’s cheeks. There were some who were obviously drunk as they started to bathe themselves with bottles and barrels of beer and some were dancing along the street in the tune of reggae, alternative, RnB and music of other genres. Others were just stamping there feet to the tune of percussion instruments. The experience was absolutely fun especially when I saw smiling faces from different corners of the globe. Of course everybody had the reason to enjoy for we had just successfully passed a challenging year of economic turmoil and yet we have to face another year of happiness, prosperity, and challenges as well.
And it all ends up here. To those who have shared their happiness with me during the long holiday, a million thanks to you guys and I hope we will have a bountiful New Year 2009. Cheers and let’s get ready for the load that is waiting as we go back to our own workplaces next week. Actually, we have the best way to avoid those loads and it’s none other than but to love our work as we have loved the bustles we had last Christmas holiday. Now that we are going back to all those routines like we had last year, I hope we will feel the same excitement we felt when the holiday was coming.