Out of respect to our host country and the foreign service nationals that help the embassy run, the embassy is usually closed on Thai holidays.  This month, the Thai people celebrated the King's birthday on December 5 and Constitution Day on December 10 (observed on December 12).  Constitution Day is a day where "Thai people show gratitude to the monarchy for graciously giving them an opportunity to take part in governing the country."  To make a long story short, King Rama VII agreed to abolish absolute monarchy in 1932 and gave some ruling power to the people.  We spent the weekend in a small beach town called Pran Buri, a couple hours southwest of Bangkok.

December 5 was a bigger day.  His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej (Rama IX) turned 84 years old.  The King was actually born at Mount Auburn Hospital in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and is the longest reigning monarch in the world with 65 years on the throne.  That's about 6 years longer than Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom if you're keeping score at home.  At any rate, the Thai people absolutely adore the King.  This holiday was a big deal for them.

The King is an avid jazz player with quite a few albums.  This photo of him sitting in with Benny Goodman is one of my favorite pictures of His Majesty
We started the day with our friends Andy and Jihi.  They were teaching my Thai teacher, Khun Apple, and her mother how to decorate a Christmas tree.  Apple then planned a day for us down by the Grand Palace.  We took the water taxi up there, and all the museums were free!  So we walked around, and Apple taught us some Thai history.  We walked around the Grand Palace for a bit, saw a bunch of military processions, and then hung out at a public square called Sanam Luang (Translation: Royal Field).  My official estimate was that hundreds of thousands of Thai people joined us to celebrate.  We left a little early because Bangkok traffic is atrocious and Whitney was getting up early for work the next morning.  At any rate, many thanks to Khun Apple and Andy and Jihi for the real Thai experience.

A soldier patrolling before the Crown Prince  Made an Appearance

More Soldiers

Andy and I almost got hit by some rickshaws!
Thousands upon Thousands of Thai People Showed up at the Royal Field to Wave the King's Flag (Yellow is the Royal Color) and the Thai Flag

The Ladies


  1. I am amazed at how much his people adore him. I truly can not think of any monarch or politician as loved as His Majesty.


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