Sunday Summary #19

Welcome to Sunday Summary, the meme in which I attempt to summarize the week that came before.

Merry Christmas! Today is Christmas Day and I am spending a very welcome lazy day at home. Well, not so lazy as it seems like I have a million things to do and no real desire to do them. Most importantly, I need to create some materials for my lessons for the upcoming week so that takes priority. Just as soon as I finish putting together this week’s “Sunday Summary”.

Rather than a blow-by-blow account, I will just include a selection of photos and video. There are a great deal to choose from (more than 500 from Friday alone) as most of the week was spent preparing for the school’s Christmas activity on Friday and a special Christmas Eve on the town with my lovely lady Kan.

I did get some blogging done between Christmas show rehearsals and teaching my regular lessons. I only posted one on Postcards to Phuket and three articles about Christmas stamps right here on this blog but also did quite a bit of prep for the change to 2023. This included creating a new Google calendar to list the stamp releases for the upcoming year, gathering images of some of those stamps, and a bit of tinkering with my Facebook group’s cover photo and membership rules.

The show on Friday morning had its fair share of glitches, mostly due to running the audio for my song’s through the school’s PA system which decided to sputter and wheeze before giving up entirely during the last song, “We Wish You A Merry Christmas”. But the K3 kids sang loudly in full voice which saved the morning and made me very proud.

The entirety of my day was spent in the very hot Santa costume visiting every single classroom to bring Good Tidings and Cheer to the tiny tykes and their teachers. I entered each classroom to a remix I’d created of Elvis Presley’s “Here Comes Santa Claus (Right Down Santa Claus Lane)” which added a loop of sleigh bells to the intro. I spent time handing out the “presents” to each boy and girl.

I had requested “NO SUGAR!” (my previous agency gave out packages of pencils, rulers and rubbers at all of their special events) but a representative brought a huge amount of chocolate candy to give out. When I protested, she told me “Everyone loves chocolate!” There were more than a few children who couldn’t eat any of this due to various reasons so I had some alternative items from my personal stockpile that I substituted when needed. A boy in one of the classes told me, “Sugar is bad!” I did have the foresight to tell the children they should not eat their treats at school (concerned both about cleanup issues and parental approval).

After the candy distribution (to which most kids gave me a “thank you” wai). each child was photographed sitting on Santa’s lap before a few class photos were taken of the entire group, culminating in singing a Christmas carol or two. The cheap Chinese-made Santa costume was not up to the challenge and the wear and tear to hundreds of kids climbing onto Santa’s lap took its toll. I think I noticed the entire crotch had ripped out by the second or third class. The seat of the pants developed similar large holes as the day wore on and the legs basically disintegrated into a pile of red fuzz when we walked to the Nursery in the afternoon. The jacket was also wearing thin so I binned everything as soon as I could. Glad I wore my regular teaching clothes underneath.

I really could smell myself by the time I ceased being Santa around 2pm. I’d been in the costume since just after eight that morning (changing during the morning assembly’s Buddhist prayers). I went home after school completely exhausted and spent most of the afternoon and evening fast asleep. I woke up later that night and walked to the beach; it was completely deserted as were most of the streets in the area. No nighttime action at all!

That was a huge contrast to the next night when Kan and I went to Patong to celebrate Christmas Eve. Our first stop was a coffee shop in one of the malls there where she gave me several Christmas presents including two nice holiday-ware silk shirts and a heartfelt Christmas card. I was stunned! We then did a bit of window shopping; I introduced Kan to the joys of Moshi Moshi and I bought her a nice ring. We had a nice pre-dinner snack from one of the local markets. LL had some spicy pork stew with rice and I found a cheesy baked potato that I am already starting to dream about.

We had a romantic walk down the length of the beach, culminating with a couple of hugely-overpriced cans of Coca-Cola. Most of the beaches on Phuket have very few places that one can sit unless you bring your own blanket for the sand. But enterprising souls set up small tables and chairs (the loungers are stacked up and unusable after dark) and present you with a menu should you try to sit on one. We sat in the same place when we visited during the Songkran Festival (Thai New Year) last April and got charged 40 baht each for our Cokes. This time, they wanted 100 baht! The exact same size costs 16 baht at 7-Eleven. I told Kan that we should bring a mat next time and buy a case of soda before coming to the beach.

By this time, we were hungry and walked up to an Irish pub on the beachfront road. The band was good (Filipino singers — the highlight of their set was an extended version of “Seven Nation Army” by the White Stripes which ended with a bass solo segueing into Queen’s “We Will Rock You”) and there were at least ten items on the menu that had me intrigued. Kan ordered BBQ ribs but they ended up bringing a single pork shank covered in sauce. I had chili con carne which was quite good but was accompanied with a hearty portion of jasmine rice that I left untouched. She had a mojito to drink and I opted for my first White Russian since leaving the States. They did have cans of Coke on the menu but this one was 80 baht!

The last bus back south to Kata was due a bit after eleven and we had just enough time to walk the length of the main party street of the town and to have a beer at one of the rowdy bars. They actually had Corona so that’s what I drank while Kan had a Chang. While waiting for my bus, we took a few Wefies at the large Christmas tree outside of the Central mall. An all-around perfect night. We will have another in a week’s time for New Year’s Eve. Hope it’s as great as the Christmas Eve.

And that is my Sunday Summary for December 18-25, 2022. I hope the week to come is just how you want it to be. Cheers!

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