I have never been a person that liked routines. I understand how they can ground someone or add a sense of order in an otherwise hectic world but if anything they make me uneasy. I crave variety, adventure and a diversity of experiences. Routine, to me, is boring.
Last fall when I moved to Asia I didn’t know what the holidays foretold. I had never set foot on the continent before and was mentally prepared for anything. For Christmas, I was in Bangkok and wanted to treat myself to a little luxury, so I set out to see what over the top things I could discover. I a few of them and started at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Bangkok. I couldn’t afford to say there but enjoyed watching the boats having beer and lunch at the famous hotel on the Chao Phraya River where some of my literary heroes Somerset Maugham, Noël Coward, Joseph Conrad, Graham Greene, Tennessee Williams, James A. Michener and many others once romped.
As the day went on, we opted to try something a little more modern and took a cab to watch the sunset from the worlds highest open air restaurant, Sirocco and have another cocktail at the attached Sky Bar. Traditional? Not but it was a marvelous contrast to many other incredible Christmases past.
For New Year’s Eve, I was in Chiang Mai, Thailand and opted to do something a little more downscale. It seems that entertainment in centers around the Thape Gate on Chiang Mai’s 800-year-old moat. Even though this was just the first of at least three of Thailand’s New Years celebrations (Western, Chinese and Buddhist) the atmosphere was in full revelry! There was music, fireworks, street food vendors and people launching paper lanterns in what felt like one giant neighborhood party. We opted to get a few beer Leos from 7/11 and join in on the fun. It was a completely opposite type experience from Christmas, but I loved them both.