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Thinking Outside The Box

Unlike most people, I rather enjoy watching TV adverts. Usually it’s to tut and then nudge Henry to say something like: “A group of people sat in a room and came up with that. WITH THAT! And then another group of people thought it was a good idea. Absolutely extraordinary.” I’d estimate I say negative things about adverts nine times out of a ten. Yes, I am a lot of fun to watch the box with…

Anyway, this particular advert was admonishing me for being sat on my sofa. I wasn’t sure about the wisdom of being mean to people who were actually paying attention to their advert but I watched on as I was told to go do something else and explore another country.

Of course I already knew there’s plenty to be doing other than watching TV but having these opportunities pop up in front of me as I cradled a cup of tea was enough to get me Googling furiously.

My chosen adventure… well there are lots of them. I couldn’t choose one so I’ve chosen five and if you lovely readers could choose one for me to do I would be most grateful.

  1. The Brussels Light Festival, Belgium

Belgium has a lot going for it. Mainly in terms of things I can put in my tummy. But aside from the chocolate and beer they are also very clever with light. At the end of this month come some incredible light shows (and a winter bbq because you can’t eat light). It’s been going since 2013 and every year more and more locals and travellers have designed their days off around this festival that takes place predominantly along Canal Sainctelette.

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2. Dia De Los Muertos, Mexico

Literally translated this doesn’t sound like a barrel of laughs (Day of the Dead) but this astonishing November 1 festival, most famously celebrated in Mexico, was born of an attitude I applaud.

The plan is to honour the dead with lively celebrations, food, drink, parties and so on. The idea is that death is a natural part of life and that the dead are still a part of the community. It’s firmly on my bucket lists to walk along with the incredible parade of brightly coloured skeletons and skulls.

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  1. Lewes Bonfire, England

You could probably have guessed this takes place on November 5 without my help. I couldn’t have a top five without an entry from my home nation and this is an occasion I regret not going to yet.

Yes there are fire-based goings on all over the country and indeed the world on Bonfire Night but the best of the best takes place in a little market town in Sussex – population 16,000 – where 80,000 people descend to enjoy seven different societies putting on five parades and fireworks displays. This is November 5 overdrive territory so if you like it anyway, you’re going to LOVE this.

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  1. Lopburi Monkey Festival, Thailand

This is how all festivals should come about. One bloke, called Yongyuth Kitwatananusont, wanted to reward the monkeys for being such great tourist attractions. So in 1989, on the last Sunday in November, he put on a buffet for them. Initially that meal was 35 tables worth but it had grown and now there are musical performances, human monkey dances and hundreds of thousands of people gathered while the monkeys feast all day long. And all night – there’s lots to munch through.

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  1. Texas Renaissance Festival, United States

If, like me, you enjoy dressing up this event might make you too jealous to be able to attend. For two months kings, queens, lords, knights, nobles, fairies, pirates, elves and more gather to create a spectacle that transports people back through time, and indeed to places that exist only in fairy tales. There are acrobats, musicians, jugglers, dancers and a huge number of great artisans selling their wares and showing off skills such as blacksmiths, glass blowing and weaving. Wonderful!

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I think you’ll agree that any of these are better than watching television. So I’m going to follow this month’s Small Luxury Hotels of the World mantra and Be Out There! You’ll need to let me know quickly which one to go to please!

I’m going to look up fancy dress outfits now as most of these offer a great chance to dress up. Yippee!

See you next week.

Melissa x

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