Seeking Santa

Sunday, December 25th, 2016
  • Hidden Santa

    It’s Christmas day, but you wouldn’t know it here in Bangkok where it’s just Sunday. They don’t celebrate or observe Christmas day here, not even on a purely commercial level, so it took quite some effort to find anything even remotely Christmasy to feature as today’s picture.

    After getting very little sleep on the overnight train from Chiang Mai, I eventually got into Bangkok at the unseemly hour of 6:50AM! The train station was quiet, but only in so much as it wasn’t full to bursting point. In reality it was still quite busy, just not by Bangkok standards.

    I had hoped to see a Christmas tree at the main train station in Bangkok. For some reason I thought they would have one there, but no. Not even the tiniest thread of tinsel could be found, and in the already stifling heat of a Bangkok morning, Christmas seemed as far away as ever as I dragged my disagreeable luggage, with its broken wheel, to the metro line.

    I spent much of the day walking around a couple of markets. First a local floating market in the east of the city, then the Chatuchak weekend Market. In retrospect a more restful day would have perhaps been a good idea after getting very little sleep on the overnight train from the north. However, Bangkok isn’t a city famed for being restful in any respect. It’s a sprawling and chaotic place buzzing with energy in the day that only seems to become amplified as night falls. Coming here was never going to be restful, and I knew it.

    I wanted to find something Christmas related for today’s picture, even if Bangkok itself didn’t care for the holiday. This task proved to be more of a challenge than I imagined though. Despite there being a myriad of sketchy looking old white guys in Bangkok, none of them were Santa.

    In the end, I did find Santa, standing almost unnoticed on a shelf in a way that felt more like an afterthought than a piece of meticulous marketing. I snapped a picture, half expecting the storekeeper to appear from nowhere and snap back at me, “No Photo!” as if they’ve got something to hide. But nobody cared. It was just Santa after all.

    I took the picture, and I think, just maybe, his porcelain smile might have gotten a little broader for being noticed.

    366 is coming to an end very soon, so please Like 366 Pictures on Facebook. It’s just nice for me to know there are people out there who enjoy the work I put into this project!