Saturday, December 14, 2013

Christmas Season in Thailand

Bangkok Dolls
It is the Christmas Season even here in Thailand. Yesterday was preparation day and Lois and I went out to look at a Nativity Set made with Thai themed dolls.  We traveled on the Airport Link (above ground train) just one stop away.  We then wound our way down some back streets to a Thai home that has been the location for "Bangkok dolls for almost 60 years.  The original proprietor was there to greet us.  She has about 20 artisans that work for her making dolls etc.
 I have included a link to her website if you are interested in browsing.

We did not come home with a nativity set. We want to see what else is out there first. But I predict that we will have this one or one something like it in the near future.  Lois really liked the little wooden boats with the Thai Woman doll in them selling fruit - think floating market. 

We did come home with two things.  We bought an embroidery like thing of elephants and a ceramic feature of two little kids with great smiles. Se the attached pictures. I believe the elephants will get enhanced by Lois via mounting, background and framing.

There are Christmas decorations out at every store.  There is a large Christmas tree in our condominium lobby with wrapped presents placed beneath it.  At the department stores there is Christmas music playing " infinite loop of Santa Claus is Coming to Town".  We drove past an indoor mall yesterday evening in a taxi and there were large displays outside.  Life size snow man in a plastic container with fake snow around him.  Christmas tree lights etc.  At the Church Office the palm trees are lighted - not quite as exquisitely as Salt Lake City Temple Square but very nice.

We have had plenty of opportunities for Christmas parties.  Last weekend we went to the Ward Christmas party (see pervious post).  On Monday  we were invited by President and Sister Senior to attend a local performance of Handels's Messiah.  President and Sister Senior hosted us at Dinner prior to the show at the “coffee bean” restaurant (no we did not order coffee).  The food was very good and we ate family style.  There was 7 Senior Missionaries and 6 young elders (AP’s, Office elders and Media elders) along with President and Sister Senior.  We traveled in one van and the Presidents SUV. After dinner we traveled in the vehicles for a short distance to Handel’s Messiah performed by the Bangkok Combined Choir.  It was performed at a Christian Church that on the outside looked a lot like a Buddhist Wat (temple).  This group and its predecessors have performed Messiah in Bangkok since the late 1950’s.  I have never been to listen to Handel's Messiah live before. I was impressed.  It was very well done.  We lasted thru 2-1/2 of the three sections. We arrived about 6:30 but the performance which was supposed to start at 7PM did start until about 7:25PM. We left after the Hallelujah chorus at about 9:45 PM.  It was getting late and we needed to get the young missionaries home. 

Friday evening we went to the Bangkok Stake Christmas party.  It was held at the building close to our home.  Food was served outdoors. Thai food and lot's of it. There was some musical numbers singing of carols outside (sit down seating and amplified musical accompaniment) and then the audience was ushered into the chapel and cultural hall. We went to the second showing of the evening which was in Thai (first showing was done in English).  They did a reading with dramatic acting and songs.  The dramatic acting was enhanced by the awesome costumes created by Bishop Arun, Bishop of the Thonburi Ward.  They depicted the Prophets of old especially Nephi from the time of the Saviors Birth in the Book of Mormon. A Choir serenaded between scenes enacted of the Christmas story told from the perspective of the Book of Mormon.  Actors portrayed Mary, Joseph , Wise Men, Shepherds and then Nephi.  It was very well done.  There was background scenery projected on the wall behind the actors and spotlights.  A well put together theatrical show. The show was also presented three times on Saturday ( two Thai and one English)

On Saturday after returning from the Bangkok doll shopping trip we took the Airport link to the Airport to pick up a Thai Sister Missionary returning from serving in Australia.  We transported her by taxi with her luggage to the Bangkok North District Center (Future Stake Center) Building. There she met with President Senior and was released as a missionary. We went to the Bangkok North District Center because President and Sister Senior were there to attend the Bangkok North District Christmas party.  The District event was done very well.  There was plenty of food,  2 tables of Thai Food, 1 of American food and 1 table for deserts.  The decorations were marvelous.  There was a tall Christmas tree of light in the Cultural hall with a 7 foot tall paper cutout of the Christus statue. After the great food there was sweets available.  They even had self-serve ice cream cones.  The line was moving so slowly….each dipping their own cones ..... that I stepped in. I dipped cones for over a half hour in order to speed up the line.  It was very good coconut ice cream.  After dinner the program started in the chapel and people extended thru the overflow and one third the way back into the Cultural hall. Each branch did a number or two and the Missionaries helped out on several numbers.  The Ayuthaya branch did such a marvelous job that the audience broke into applause when they finished – nobody else got applause.  The had costumes and Thai instruments that they used set to a song that Elder Sowards (Former Thai missionary before my time now a Senior Missionary with his wife)  translated from Englsh into Thai. Song was written by his wife.   They had some young primary age boys that sang some solos that was very cute (awesome). 
We are not done with Christmas parties.  One Monday at the Office and one on December 23rd with young missionaries from the Bangkok area.

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