With three weeks off work over Christmas and New Years, we were quick to make plans – quick plans! Over the course of three weeks we celebrated Christmas with my family, Norwegian Style. We then proceeded to hop over the pond to Canada in time for some Canadian Christmas cheers and celebrations before venturing on to some fun in the sun and reunion with friends in El Salvador.
Being away from home on Christmas makes for a different one. First of all, it is hot here, as opposed to the below freezing temperatures in our native countries of Norway and Canada. Second, we do not have a kitchen to cook up traditional Christmas meals. And last, we are far away from friends and family. It was not the usual Christmas, but it was a good one anyways.
Bocas Town really got geared up for the holiday season a couple weeks ago with a grand Christmas parade and fireworks. Since then, the festivites got toned down and the crib on display in the central park was empty in anticipation for the arriving baby Jesus. Unfortunately it had been raining for days leading up to Christmas. The decorations in the park were luckily wrapped in plastic for protection. It was not their first display!
The rain made our 9$/night room rather damp and when we woke up on December 24th, we did not say it at first, but we both knew we were thinking of the coziness of a warm house, a fireplace, friends and family from home. Santa (aka. Kyler) proceeded to surprise us with the very welcomed surprise of one night at a nearby hotel!
In Norway, the big Christmas celebrations all take place on Christmas Eve, the 24th. We had a wonderful day, in spite of the rain. We went to yoga and had a wine-lunch on our private balcony in the day. At night, we went out to an Italian restaurant serving homemade pasta and fresh fish. After dinner, we had drinks and gift exchanges at our lovely balcony. Kyler (aka. Santa) surprised me with a Kindle! I will never carry 35 books when traveling ever again!
Just like Canadian kids, we woke up early the next morning for our stockings! We did not have our real stockings with us, but Kyler’s tennis socks made do. Yes, they were clean! It was a peaceful morning in the rain. We ran out to get coffee and wonderful breakfast sandwiches and enjoyed the last of our little vacation from our vacation on the balcony.
At night we met up with our friends, Jasper from Australia and Cheche from El Salvador. We met and got to know eachother a while ago in El Tunco, El Salvador and randomly met again in Bocas! Earlier in the day, Kyler and I had bought a full chicken (somewhat similar to that of a turkey..) However, they only had ham-flavoured chicken and we all agreed, it was weird! Cheche had made wonderful mashed potato, gravy and salad.
Four other friends joined in on the festivities and it suddenly felt like Christmas! Great food, friends and all the time in the world! What more can a person wish for?
We checked, and yes, Baby Jesus arrived. (I wonder who kept him for the past month!)
Friday night was the night that kicked Christmas into to town. A major Christmas prep celebration got everybody and their dog out. There was music being played and santa hats and bunny ears (I didn’t quite get this one) for sale. Some had lights on them, some were covered in glitter, some a little of both. Kyler got a Christmas hat with the usual white fuzzy rim, then imagine a spring going up in the shape of a Christmas tree with a little ball at the end. It was a hit with the kids who would sneak up behind him and either 1) Hit the ball so that the spring would dance back and fourth or 2) Push the ball down so that the whole spring would bounce back up. Cheap and fun entertainment. Also, the hat made Kyler so insanely tall so that his hat would hook on to anything and especially made him stand out in the popcorn line up! Very funny. See photo below.
Oh, and then later than late, was the grand parade! I will describe some of the floats: Santa on top of a car throwing candy all around. Next to him is a fairly massive foam statue/picture of The Little Mermaid covered in glitter. Another one was a pick up truck with a cage on the back. In the cage were several kids dressed up as disciples and between them was a live calf! Of course, there was! Another one was a car covered in Christmas decorations and balloons pulling a trailer with more decos and five clowns on it! Another one was a car decorated with Angry Birds. They love them! Aaah, it was just hilarious. Look closely at the photos below and you will see.
The Christmas season has been inaugurated! It is all quite different from the Christmas’ we are used to from the cold, snow-clad North, but the joy and happiness of the season is no less apparent!