Christmas in Thailand!
The following is a summary of the news from the Woking Contingent on an incredible Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day as part of the UK Contingent in Thailand:
"Hope that ... your Christmas was half as amazing as ours."
"Christmas Eve was a midnight carol concert on the beach - most bizarre singing carols - wearing shorts and a T shirt sitting on white sand under a palm tree!"
"The festivities started late on Christmas Eve with carols and Christmas songs by torch light on the beach until just after midnight. A very special way to welcome the Christmas spirit, and started to get people back into the Christmas mood which was fast slipping with the very un Christmas like climate!!"
"Yesterday (25 December) was a day I'll remember for a long time!"
"Father Christmas delegated responsibility of stockings to the team of elves that had been flown out from the UK, no doubt helping him to achieve the task slightly faster than normal with 3000 people under one roof."
"Other activities were set up around the beach which were fun, there were games like 'build a castle and destroy your opponents with wet sponges (don't ask!). The activities lasted most of the day (well until 4:00)."
"A huge banner was also made with several hundred feet and hand prints which is now proudly on show at the UK pavilion."
"We're all slowly turning tanned or red i.e. its sunny here!"
"We were given only a short while to run to our rooms and get into our 'smart casual' clothes."
"We've made good use of the hotels laundry service.....woohoo. Haven't opened the travel wash yet."
"In the evening, we were taken in a convoy of taxis (that traveled almost hassle free through closed roads) to another hotel in Bangkok (the Royal Beach Hotel), a 5* with the largest restaurant in the area."
"We've now had 2 near crashes whilst going from place to place (please don't worry, its quite funny really)!"
"240 Baht Taxiís processed around the hotel, picking up 10 members of the contingent in a Theme Park ride style. The police were waiting to escort the lengthy convoy all the way to the Pattaya Exhibition and Conference Hall (PEACH), which we had hired for the party."
"After a soft drinks reception with entertainers, Father Christmas arrived led in by a marching band and addressed the masses!"
"We were welcomed by the majority of the contingent who had arrived previously to us ... and the Thai Navy's Military Band! Slowly we filtered into the convention hall which was decorated in the most extravagant fashion imaginable! There was a huge stage lit up by hundreds of lights and more than 200 tables all in one hall."
"Each table was decorated in purple and gold with special Scout Crackers!"
"The meal was buffet style, which involved moving outside of the hall and moving along great long tables to receive our food. Considering that English food of this sort had never been prepared let alone served by the hotel the food was amazing. One small problem.......they ran out of turkey before we got to it!!!"
"We ate proper English food! We had a Christmas roast and then a disco, supported by a live band and a DJ."
"A live Thai band (The Red Chilli's) provided the entertainment. They were very impressive and had every body rocking on the dance floor - and not a drop of alcohol anywhere!"
"2800 British Scouts, completely sober, partying (and sweating) till 1:30 a.m. is a pretty amazing sight."
"We've discovered the original Red Bull! Apparently 7 times stronger and comes in medicine bottles (that wont be a thirst quencher then!)."
"Although I can explain it to you, and although I can show you the photos, nothing can do justice to the atmosphere over here. This is amazing but I am proud and honoured to say that I was there I was a part of it and I'm absolutely loving it!!!!!"
"The whole event was so professionally run, visually impressive and slick - any corporate business would have been proud of the outcome."
"The scale of the operation was unbelievable! We were even visited by Santa and shown video messages on the 2 cinema screens in the grand hall from famous celebrities all wishing us a Merry Christmas! (The best were Chris Tarrant and Terry Venables!)"
"There were also fantastic messages for the participants from the Chief Guide (Jenny Leach) and the Chief Scout (George Purdy) a highlight of the evening, especially when backed by the Jamboree Song mixed with Jingle Bells!"
"The entertainment continued with some wonderful performances from dancers from the Redemptorist Vocational School for the Disabled in Pattaya."
"Guides, Scouts and Leaders partied into the small hours at what must be one of the biggest Christmas parties anyone will ever be part of! Slowly people filtered back to the waiting fleet of Baht Taxis who took some very tired bodies back to the Hotel."
"This has just been the most unforgettable experience and the jamboree itself hasn't even started yet."
"Today (26 December) is relax and recovery day from last night as the party stopped at 1:30am."
"We got up late, and spent the day by the pool apart from a quick shopping trip to.......Tesco!"
"Oh and....WE'RE GOING TO THE JAMBOREE IN THE MORNING!!! We're expecting a hard day of pioneering and tent pitching tomorrow but I'm sure we'll manage!"
"We will lose the air conditioning and the pool - but gain 22000 other people and the sea!"