Tuesday, December 11, 2007

See Emily Play

It's almost mid-December and it was only a few days ago when I saw a Christmas tree in a golf course promotion store and a bar girls wearing little red and white Santa caps with flashing LED lights that I realized Christmas was fast approaching. Unlike China - where Christmas is not celebrated but is becoming a sort of secularized cultural mishmash - it's hard to pick up any sense of the season in Hua Hin.

I have yet to hear a carol or pop holiday song, unlike Shenzhen where even in my virtually all-Chinese neighborhoods it wasn't uncommon to hear the maddeningly repeated strains of the barking dogs Jingle Bells,, Little Drummer Boy and - yes, even Mamacita, donde esta Santa Claus blaring in grocery stores. Actually, it's kind of nice, though I confess I'll be eventually breaking out a couple Christmas compilations sent to me while in SZ.

The press to buy presents, I don't miss - still waking up with nighsweats from 15 years ago, circa Dec 23, 1992 with no idea how I'll be able to find a specific model Michaelangelo Mutant Teenage Ninja Turtle for my son ... It was like planning guerrilla warfare conferring with other harried parents: "I've heard the Thornton Wal-Mart is expecting a shipment at 2.15 am..." "Or maybe it's the Castle Rock Toys R Us at 5.37 am?..." No. Please. Stop. No more.

Which had me musing this weekend while sipping a (hard to find) ginger ail on a street corner and watching two Thai boys in spiffy Spiderman wear. Ages 5 and 7 or so, I imagine and apparently the sons or grandsons of a clutch of motorcycle taxi drivers who were lazing away the day also between occasional fares.

The strains of a vaguely familiar song courtesy of a small, amateur makeshift marching band came down the street leading to the beach. No, not a holiday song but one of the most strained renditions of Girl from Ipanema I've ever heard drew everyone's attention. Behind the band fetching young Thai women were distributing real estate development leaflets and cheap paper fans to anyone within grasp and the taxi drivers took a bunch, stared uncomprehendingly at the English print before tossing the leaflets and keeping the fans.

The boys, however, were entranced by the leaflets. The smaller one sat on a curb and paged through it - pointing to homes he'll probably never own and babbling to his older brother and taxi drivers who nodded. The older one began rolling his into a cone to make a trumpet and telescope, alternately shouting through it and peering. Then it wa a sword to attack his younger brother who went from browsing for beach front property to defending himself. Their play went on for close to an hour. Perfectly happy with a couple pieces of colorful paper that bent for whatever fantasy they had.

After one "shot" me, I slumped and died in my chair before reviving and gently reaching for it. A paper airplane was one thing they couldn't make and mine was no beauty but they called for a second. Air wars and test flights followed. Would that a Ninja Turtle or TMX Elmo or Transformers Movie Leader Megatron. provide that much fun for so long for any American child ... Which gave me an idea.

I lunged at the tykes growling and swearing, tore up their papers and laughed. "HA!" I screamed as they and their taxi village protectors looked on in shock. "You're too damn imaginative you little soi urchins!" I dug into my pocket and threw a wad of baht at them - "Go!" I screamed. "TAKE THIS and get thee an X-Box 360 Platinum System and a FurReal Friends Squawkers Mcaw Parrot or a WowWee Robotics RoboPanda!
- if you can find any!...Haahahahah..."

Merry holidaze from Hua Hin.


Peter said...

Merry holidays to you to Justin :-)

SCH said...

Give it time, Justin, just give it a little more time. Someday, we'll all be up to our asses in XBoxes.

Merry Christmas to ya.

Denver Cousins said...

Hi Justin. This is your cousin-in-law Jim from Denver. Even though this is my first comment on your blog, I do make it a habit to check your stuff every day. It is great to see your writing.

If you had been at our family gift exchange yesterday, you would have had even more grist for your journalistic mill. The goings on at our house: Roger's stupor, Ruth Ellen's incessant micro-managing, and the annual orgy of gift giving, while not as exotic as Thailand, were at least as bizarre.

Merry Christmas,


john said...

Happy Holidays Justin -

I have tried to get away from all off the family goings on but I guess I will get a report tomorrow (your dad was in NYC with my mon).

Best to you and glad to see a great old Floyd Reference