As discussed in my previous post, a few days ago I left Asia and I am now in the land of the Kiwis.
After getting the train back from Koh Tao, which was an interesting experience involving a 6 hour delay, I spent Christmas in Bangkok, in what was probably the strangest Christmas season of my life. If you want to find the most Christmassy places in Bangkok, a non-Christian city, you just have to ask yourself - what is Christmas all about? If you answered with Jesus, love, family, goodwill to men, or anything silly like that, you are wrong. The correct answer is, of course, consumerism, which is why the most Christmassy places in Bangkok are the shopping centres.
To be honest, though, it still doesn't work with the season for me. Even if I'd been in New Zealand for Christmas, a country which actually does celebrate it, I don't think I could really get into the Christmas spirit when it's over twenty degrees outside. This was despite the best efforts of the staff at my hostel, who brought the surreality (word?) of Christmas day to its height with their inter-hostel staff dance competition. I pretty much spent the entire Christmas party chatting to a Danish guy and a Belgian guy about how weird everything was.
I left Asia by way of Singapore. I only managed to spend one day looking around the place, but I managed to cover what I like to think is a fair range, from the skyscrapers and modern architecture of the Marina Bay, to the inner city jungle of the Southern Ridges (actual jungle, not being metaphorical here), to the slightly more traditionally Asian area of Little India. I also accidentally spent far too much money on a delicious lunch of Chilli Crab.
I have been enjoying myself in New Zealand so far, and have already seen some pretty spectacular scenery, which I will present photographic evidence of shortly. I'm taking an overnight bus down to Wellington tonight, where I'll be spending a few days before crossing over to the South Island for two weeks of driving and camping. Should be good.