Evidently it was still Christmas in Thailand last month. Christmas trees stood proudly in shops and malls, heavily strung with festive lights, festooned with colorful ornaments and a dusting of - well, dust. I saw them in the lobbies of hotels, in the waiting areas of massage parlors and one somewhat weather-worn one on the beach. I even saw one in the working area of a motorcycle repair shop, lights blinking as the sparks flew from a grinder at work on a bent frame.
There's a 1934 movie song called "June in January", and I thought of it a few times this last trip while out walking, amused at the disparity between the actual holiday and the the decorations for it. If you heard someone singing it while taking pictures, that was probably me.
As planned, I did a lot more night photography than on previous trips, and had even armed myself with a tripod from TukCom the day I arrived. However, time constraints and health didn't allow me to get many pictures at Royal Garden and Central Malls in Pattaya or the Spring things at Siam Paragon, but I did get the above shot (actually two, stitched) of the thousands of LEDs cascading down one side of Royal Garden, with the Ripley's "Believe It Or Not" museum plane embedded above the main entrance. It's an interesting juxtaposition of festivity and disaster, I think.
Back here at home it's not at all unusual to see houses with Christmas lights on them year-round; strings of faux icicles, hanging haphazardly from the eaves of homes and sometimes actually still on at night well into Spring, so I probably shouldn't have been too surprised. However, I live in a country that's overwhelmingly Christian (primarily by name only - you wouldn't know it the majority of the time by the actions of most folks), and Thailand observes Christmas more as an affectation than a real holiday.
So, here it was in the Land of Smiles: the end of January, and the Christmas decorations were beginning to share space with the Chinese New Year lanterns, dragons and cardboard bunnies. It was a hoot!