Christmas Decorations in the Tropics!

Christmas LightsLiving in India, I had forgotten that Christmas was coming up. I knew it was soon but had forgotten how soon, as there is very little indication here of the approaching festival.
Unlike in Europe and I am sure in the U.S, the streets aren’t decorated and most shops don’t display anything Christmassy at all.
Even when I lived in Auckland, the Christmas decorations were pretty sad. To be fair it may have changed now as I haven’t been back for 6 years, but there used to be a few lonely stars strung up in Queen St, (the main shopping street) and there was a large and creepy animatronic Santa on the side of one of the buildings. Creepy because one of his eyelids went up and down in a very slow wink as he beckoned passers-by with an equally slowly bending fore- finger, giving the impression of a dirty old man inviting you to sit on his lap.
Asia does Christmas really well. If you are ever in Hong Kong at this time, for example, you must take a boat trip on the harbour and see the massive skyscrapers lit up with different Christmas scenes; 40 storey Christmas trees, or Santa and his reindeer flying around the building (in light form) Last year one of the malls had even built a mountain complete with a working Ski-lift ferrying half-size model humans up and down it’s slopes.
I used to deliberately take a route home that meant crossing through the Lobby of the old Mandarin Hotel so I would be given a bag of freshly roasted chestnuts by the Hotel doorman.
It was only when I arrived in Singapore last week and left the airport that I realised what time of the year it was. It was the herds of red Reindeer gambolling under the Banyan Trees that gave it away.

Christmas Lights

The decorations here are fantastic and it doesn’t take long to get over the incongruity of Snowmen, Reindeer and Christmas trees in 32 degrees heat. The main shopping street Orchard Rd looks stunning at night with beautiful lights strung all along it, icicles hanging from the trees and outside every mall beautiful Christmas trees, each one different and many of them 2 or 3 storeys high.

Christmas tree
In between staring with my mouth agape I took a few photos but my cell-phone camera can in no way capture the atmosphere or do the light sufficient justice.
Guess you will have to visit yourself!


It really is a small world!

So I’m walking through Chatuchak market, one of the worlds largest markets at 35 acres and with 5000 stalls and an estimated 200,000 visitors per day. I stop at a coffee stall and my wife orders a coffee. A western couple sitting there tell us that the coffee is really good. Upon hearing their accent I ask if they are Kiwis (New Zealanders). The lady says yes and asks where I was from. I say most recently Auckland but grew up in Wellington. She said

An evening view of Karehana Bay, from Paremata...

An evening view of Karehana Bay, from Paremata, Porirua City, New Zealand (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

so did she. I said Plimmerton. She said “so did I”. I said I lived in Karehana Bay, Plimmerton. She said “so did I”! She said “I grew up in Gordon Rd”. I said “No way! I lived at number 64′! She said “I lived at Number 11”! Unbelievable!


I have since found out that the couple was the NZ Ambassador to Thailand and his wife!