Christmas Eve Is Just Another Day

Dec 24th, 2014

Most people wait
the whole week for weekend,
the whole year for vocation,
the whole life for retirement.
It sounds pretty cool, he? For a traveller (not tourist or vacationer), everyday is weekend, everyday is vocation and most of us do not work, at least when traveling. However, it also has another meaning. Weekends and all the public holidays do not excite us at all. It’s just another day, on the road.
I am not a Christian, far from one actually, but since I lived in the Netherlands for 6 years, I was used to the big scenes of celebration in the snowy Dutch winter, especially in my lab the radio already started to broadcast Christmas songs even in the end of November…… 😛 Now it’s different. I am traveling constantly. Christmas, Easter and even Chinese New Year, are just another day of backpacking and hitchhiking.
There was nothing really happening in the city for Christmas. It’s still more than 30 degree everyday, which made me forget it’s Christmas. The hostel was quiet. Most travellers in South East Asia are westerners. For a westerner, who would not go home for Christmas? Who? Only long term travellers actually. I spent almost al the daytime online, to read a book — Facebook…… to update my friends that I was still alive and wished them a merry Christmas.
I was totally bored and started to talk with some hardcore travellers in the hostel. There was a movie room in the hostel. There I met a German biker who biked all the way from Germany to here. At the reception, there was a westerner, judging from accent, an Eastern European guy. Since I was so bored, I started to talk to him. He was Polish and I said:”Ok. Don’t tell me which city you are from. I will try to guess.”
–“It’s in the South or North? A big or small city?”
–“South. Yeah it’s a big city for Poland.”
I could not constrain my excitement, “Are you from KRAKOW??”
–“Yes! Oh, you know Krakow?!” He said very cheerfully.
“Oh my God!! You have no idea how much I LOVE Poland and especially Krakow!! OMG… Krakow, my beautiful and most beloved Krakow! You know what? I lived there for one month. Its not long but I had so many unbelievable experiences there!……” I was so excited that I started to express my deepest love for Krakow like a machine gun. That’s right. Normally I speak like a machine gun, dadadada…… especially when I got excited! 😉
We just had to take a photo together, posing “K” for Krakow! My dearest Krakow! I lived in Europe for 6 years and there are two countries I love the most — France and Poland. There are two cities that I LOVE the most — Leiden, the Netherlands and Krakow, Poland!
I will always and forever remember dancing on the market square with my most awesome flatmates to earn a little money for going to pubs, going to the prison to dance with the prisoners, hitchhiking in costumes with my lovely friends and so many so many lovely and crazy memories!! memories that will never fade away!!
I decided to break this quiet atmosphere in the hostel, so I went to the streets to catch some other travellers, maybe I would find some interesting people. No, I did meet some travellers and had some drinks with them but I do not remember anything about them now. Mind you, dear friends, that’s not because I was drunk (I do not drink alcohol), but just because as I said in Meet the Travellers ( — the conversation was simply so banal…… Nothing impressive and thus nothing remains in my brain to contribute to the memories. That just made this Christmas Eve even more boring. I had to leave. I had already had enough comfort and refreshment by sleeping on a normal bed for one night. If I stayed longer I would be bored, to DEATH. I packed my things and left. I would walk to the golden and beautiful monastery facing Pha That Luang and sleep there. I was there the day before and I saw that there was no wall — even no need to break in. I just had to mind the ferocious dogs.
That was a long walk. I got lost in the darkness. It was midnight already and the streets were quiet. I crossed several small alleys to get back on track. I saw some homeless people sleeping and some poor locals who were rummaging the rubbish. No criticism. It was just such a big contrast with just a couple blocks away, where foreign tourists were sitting in nice shining bars, enjoying their beers accompanied by some sexy local girls.
The terrible smell of a ditch hidden in the dark invaded my nose and occupied it rudely for a long time. Then I saw just a few meters away from the ditch, in a big but not luxurious restaurant, about 50 Laotian people, mostly young ones were celebrating Christmas. They looked like family and friends. They were singing karaoke and everybody was wearing a Santa Claus hat. It’s not ridiculous but it was a scene every passer-by would laugh at. They were very loud and already as drunk as thick mud. Some were dancing in an unbalanced way and some were trying to reposition the decorative lights on the walls. I was observing them and still speeding up to escape the unforgettable smell of the ditch, until suddenly a guy among them came up to me. He was Chinese and he recognized me as Chinese too (Was it so obvious?…). Those people were his Laotian friends. He stopped me because he wanted to warn me about the recently active bag snatching in that area. Although he was shouting loudly with his Laotian friends, it seemed to me that he still possessed his good senses. He invited me to join them. I kindly refused — had to hurry up. When I finally arrived in that monastery, all lights in rooms were off, so I could not find any monk to ask for permission to sleep there. I found a outdoor bed in the yard. There were no ferocious dogs nearby. I fell into slumber within 3 minutes. “Tomorrow is another hitchhiking day.”

Laotian Traffic Sign
Laotian Traffic Sign
Pha That Luang
Pha That Luang
Praying to the Pagoda
Praying to A Pagoda
Krakow -- A Place I Will Love Forever
Krakow — A Place I Will Love Forever
K for Krakow
K for Krakow

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