It is quite different spending the holidays in a foreign culture, away from family and well-known traditions.
While Christmas is observed here in Thailand -with Christmas trees, lights, reindeer, and jingle bells -it is not much more than a commercial event.
New Year's celebrations were a lot more obvious. Part of one of the three main roads here in town got blocked off and an entire new market appeared. It's been there since a week before New Year's and, if I read the signs correctly, will be there till January 8th.
Just about about anything you can imagine can be found at this market. Countless food and clothing stalls, solid Teak wood furniture, stages for different musical acts, raffles, and much more.
Unfortunately, we forgot our camera when we were there. But since its on for a few more days, maybe we will get a chance to go again and snap some pictures.
We've heard occasional firecrackers and seen some fireworks since we came to Thailand. But starting a week before New Year's they increased tremendously; being fired off both day and night.
Since fireworks seem to play a big role we could only imagine what was expecting us on New Year's Eve. In fact, we were in for a real treat. While I don't care much for the firecrackers, as they sound an awful lot like gunfire, the fireworks we got to see were just beautiful.
From our place we could observe the "colorful explosions in the sky" of several locations in town. We could also see a lot of continuously glowing, floating spots, which we figured out were sky lanterns.
For our New Year's Day dinner I tried to bring a little 'taste of home' to the table.
We had mashed potatoes (the made-from-powder kind) with fried chicken in various forms (thanks to KFC), beef gravy, steamed carrots, and egg tartlets.
Not really like a festive dinner with the family, but it had some resemblance.