Before embarking on the trip, many people voiced their concern that I would be spending Christmas in a foreign country without any friends, as they learned about my horrible travel plan.

This Christmas was indeed awkward, mostly because of the bustling short-sleeved crowds... all the while my European friends sent me photos of cold empty streets. On Christmas Eve I was at a party and enjoyed dinner with others. I am not a party person and I am always awkward at parties. As the party progressed, the thought of going back to my hotel room to sleep gradually dominated... This was due to the time zone shift, as people reasoned. Then I dragged my sleepy body with them into streets to visit some churches to appreciate the nativity scene. People all looked holly jolly, but I was nagged by the regret of not achieving anything in 2018 as I recalled the horrible email I received during the day which asked me to submit a report on what I had achieved in 2018. I wrote a report which mostly said that I tried some stuff but achieved nothing, which totally sacked my spirit. Management likes to intrude upon us to remind us who is in control of our lives and to whom we should be grateful for all the funds. Thus the moral of Christmas is that one should not accept funds from countries that do not celebrate Christmas. (Did I derive the correct moral this time? :3)

Then it came to pass that I spent the Christmas Day mostly on sleeping. Then I just followed my daily routine and read some papers and tried to think of something new to work on in the future. Then my mind slipped. The hotel room looked bare, but I didn't feel inconvenienced while my previous abode was uncomfortable even though it was packed with machinery to make life easier. Is this the difference in infrastructure? At the hotel, I have potable water from the faucet, hot water for shower, clean floor, which is not that easy to observe until you suddenly notice the bottom of your feet either all black or not, and good Internet access, which is invisible but observable. Even though the breakfast tastes terrible, a convenience store is close by, from which I bought milk and fruits. (The hotel room has a fridge BTW.) How can people serve up food that tastes so bad with such amicability? Is it just me finding the taste abominable?

People here are very friendly... and like to assume that I do not speak their languages, which hindered our communication. WTF?!

Then I went hiking. I did think about inviting others to join me, but gave up after evaluating the trouble of scheduling a meet-up and the noise I would need to put up with. I find distasteful jolly good hikes which run orthogonal to the tranquillity I seek. People usually find silence awkward and try hard to say something.

Anyway I simply went on my own. I didn't plan much other than noting the hour of sunset. While on the trail, I got messages from my European friend so we went on to exchange some photos. Thus I got a friend who travelled with me remotely and silently. You may travel with me asynchronously. Here is a picture.

This was a secondary forest meaning that the forest is reclaiming the land that used to be used by humans. Relics of red bricks were visible buried in the trail. Otherwise it was hard to see that humans once inhabited this land. There was a lot of wildlife. Yet over the treetops yonder a city was not far away.

I pondered a bit. I think I prefer dying alone in peace to living in company in agony.