This year, it has not felt at all like a traditional Christmas. At all! We just discussed it yesterday: no decorations at home, no Christmas food, no carols. This has been very convenient, as we (M) do not really care that much for Christmas. We utilize the holiday period to spend some time somewhere warm, usually in South-East Asia. And this year again we traveled early to avoid the tourist rush. But it is quite uncommon that Christmas slips by almost unnoticed. Proof that we have been way too busy this fall.
Our Christmas eve was spent on the hotel balcony (a very nice balcony) in Cha-am; having simple Thai food and local Singha beer, and listening to a slightly off note Thai band playing on the beach. Presents were exchanged by showing a picture of what is waiting at home when we go back to Sweden (except for the toddler, she got the real thing). We brought wine with us from Bangkok (an NZ Sauvignon Blanc and Marta Cava), but the bottles were already gone before Christmas eve. Oops. No matter. It was a perfect evening anyway as it was spent together with loved ones.
I don’t really mind not having Christmas food (even though I like it). Especially in Thailand, why not sticking to local cuisine. Its yummy! And for drinks, beer is my first choice. Wine is quite heavily taxed, especially if it has bubbles, and local beer is inexpensive and brewed to fit spicy food. Not to mention that it is a perfect cooler in the hot and humid weather. Many nice wines would not even taste good with a spicy Pad Thai. However, if I decide to go with wine as a pairing, a dry and fruity Sauvignon Blanc from Australia (Marlborough for example) is perfect when properly chilled. The transportation time from Australia is not too long either, so the risk of mistreatment of the bottles is relatively low.
Next up on our journey is Singapore. The neat and crisp tiger city-state is a good contract to chaotic Bangkok. So close, but so far, Singapore and Bangkok have their own identities and styles, and I love visiting both during our travels. In Singapore, the wine-scene will be slightly better. But what I really think is great in Singapore are the cocktails. And I am not talking about Singapore Sling here; that is just a tourist trap. But there are so many great cocktail bars, that it is almost a crime to drink something else. Here are a few of my favorites from past trips: 28 Hong Kong street, Bar Stories and Operation Dagger. Can’t wait to visit them and a few new ones.