The Run-up to Christmas

Over a week in the hotel now and have already been found wanting when asked to “bring food” to social events. It has now been 3.5 months of living out of the backpack.

But we have been invited to a Christmas picnic down on the beach. In deference to our kitchen-less state, we have the task of doing the beer. I can do that.

As TL has no functioning postal delivery to street addresses (ie there are no street addresses) this option is severely limited. Most of our mail actually arrives in a DHL bag and we do not expect the next one until next week, so we have the grand total of zero Christmas cards. Nor have we sent a single card – partly as we would have had to send them before we even got here if we wanted them to arrive in foreign parts for Christmas.

Most of the local population are Catholics and the church provides a key focus. I had thought there might be a bit more of the commercial version of Christmas (as practiced in the modern western countries) but there is almost no sign of that commercialism (which I happen to find distasteful anyway). One thing you do see is “nativity scenes”. Dotted around all over the place are small constructions put together by family units. These nativity scenes will typically include a bit of the usual glitter, but mostly they are home-made efforts made with local materials. Given that the makers of many of these scenes live in little more than bamboo huts, these are significant efforts.

Of course, the OZ embassy (a quite large edifice) has tactfully created one of the bigger ones, but in true OZ “taking the piss” style, has a dash of humour, with a kangaroo carrying baby Jesus in his pouch. And a shepherd kneeling down perilously close to the hindquarters of a sheep.