In late January and early February, those of us in Phuket look forward to the year’s second big New Year’s blow-out. There is a huge Chinese population centered on Phuket Town. Many of the older families began during the tin-mining boom starting in the mid-nineteenth century and their clan shrines still dot the small lanes of the community. The Old Town Phuket Festival, celebrating the area’s rich history and unique culture, is usually held a few days following the start of Chinese New Year. It is my favorite of the local festivals, even more so than September/October’s Vegetarian Festival.
One of the best things about living in Thailand are the myriad of festivals and other celebrations throughout the year. We actually have three different annual New Year’s – the Western New Year on 31 December, Chinese New Year in late January or early February, and Songkran (Thai New Year) centered on 13 April.
Now that I live in Phuket Town, I usually celebrate Western New Year by walking over to Sanam Chai. This is a park in the northeast portion of Phuket’s administrative district, across the street from Provincial Hall to the east and City Hall to the north. Each year, Phuket’s Provincial Administration Organization (PPAO, known in Thai as OrBorJor) sponsors a three-day celebration in the park called Phuket Colorful Countdown and it just keeps getting bigger and better.
Most days, I stick with Thai food for my meals. Not only is it much less expensive and generally healthier than the farang food that I enjoy but I actually find it much more satisfying. Yes, I still crave proper Mexican food but as that is so rare in my part of Phuket the Thai fare fulfills my need for spices.
Once or twice a week, however, I splurge a bit and hit Western food eateries. Usually that involves walking to the Indy Market held in my neighborhood on Thursday and Friday evenings where I can count on chile cheeseburgers from the less-than-one-year-old Tuk Tuk Diner cart.
I have been reading a lot this year (so far), having completed 36 books and read over 10,000 pages in just the first three months. In my best year (2011) since starting tracking my reading in detail, I read 21,601 pages so I am well on-track to shattering that record. Will I beat 2010’s total of 119 books finished? Only time will tell…
The February pages read total of 2726 is down almost a thousand from January but the March stat of 3699 is back up there. What’s particularly amazing is that the bulk of my reading for this past month occurred in the first twelve days; once I purchased my new laptop (having been without for almost a year), my daily reading took a significant drop.
This has been one of my longest blog-silences for quite some time. I hope to put an end to that in the near future.
I had been quite busy with work throughout February and the summer slow-down has officially begun with the conclusion of a four-day English Camp on Sirae Island last week. I finished the school year substitute teaching Upper Primary and High School classes at Samkong School in Phuket Town, a gig I enjoyed so much that I may request a more permanent assignment there when the new term starts in May.
The new year is off to a spectacular start and I had the best reading month since I began keeping track four years ago. While the total of 15 books finished in January is not the most I completed in one month (that honor goes to October 2010 with 19 books), I read more book-pages than any single month before now – a total of 3774! The next closest for that stat would be the 2752 pages I read in March 2013. Quite a leap!