Somewhere Over the Rainbow, Part 1

As we flew into Bangkok, we passed this rainbow, hence the title of these blogs about Thailand. It's Christmas night here and I have just returned from the Christmas candlelight service at New Vision Baptist Church where I also partook of their potluck supper. My roommate Zinan visiting from Budapest where he attends Pastor Graham King's Chinese church is on his iPhone on the other bed in this hotel room. If you ever want an inexpensive place to stay in Bangkok, I recommend this hotel, because it includes a good breakfast and Wifi and is near shopping, sidewalk cafes, and Thai massage parlors. It's called the Samran Place Hotel and it's near a sky train station too. 

Since it's Christmas and I've mentioned the service, I'll put some pictures here now. 

The handsome dude in the last photo is Zinan. I like him because he's quiet and kind and he makes a killer potato salad that I tasted in China last fall at someone's house. The service had lots of singing including a Christian Christmas song in Thai set to the tune of Santa Claus is Coming to Town. I didn't understand a word, but smiled all through it. We also played a game where we counted off by 7's, but instead of saying 5, a person said Joy to the World, and instead of saying 7, a person said Merry Christmas. After everyone had counted off, all the 1's had to find each other, get together and take a selfie. The same thing for all the other numbers. It was fun and created a merry atmosphere and got people mixing and meeting. There were testimonies from people who were grateful for the investment of other church body members, some Christmas themed videos, a message from the pastor, and a time of prayer. Afterward, people posed for pictures by the Christmas tree and around the manger scene. It was a good time with a healthy church that has a vision for Thailand. I got to spend about an hour with one of the pastors who oversees the church planting mission of the church and I was impressed. I also got to drink refreshing homemade tamarind juice and watermelon juice. Here's some pictures of the semi-outdoor fellowship hall where we ate and yours truly beside a Christmas tree. 

That's Zinan again in the red shirt and I'm wearing the shirt that last year's GGCA first grade class gave me as a going away present. Lots of Thai people saw those students' footprints today as I walked around Bangkok taking pictures of crazy Christmas trees like this one made from old television sets and the following one made from macaroons. 

I was feeling rather down today since I was spending my first Christmas away from my family and my attempt to contact them failed, so I drowned my sorrows in lunch at McDonald's, my worst Christmas lunch ever. 

I spotted Santa skating on an indoor rink at a mall, 

and then was interviewed by some Thai teens who had been assigned a project to find English speaking people and ask them questions. They stopped me outside this store: 

The final question was, If you could fly, where would you go? My answer? I said, "It's Christmas, so I'd fly home to be with my family." Thailand is 94% Buddhist, so Christmas is a Christian festival that young people enjoy because it something to celebrate by shopping and eating out and taking pictures with shiny lit trees and stuff called snow. 

Lots of workers in hospitality related jobs wore red and white Santa hats today. And though temperatures were near 90 degrees Fahrenheit, it was a cool wintry day in Bangkok and I saw people in sweaters. I ate spicy soup for dinner and perspires even more than I had been already!

Tomorrow we go to Ayutthaya for a day trip and Sunday we depart for China. Time to shower, brush teeth, and go to sleep. It looks like other adventures over the rainbow will have to wait for another day, but here's another picture taken today in the precious blue shirt with green footprints. 


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