Friday, 24 December 2010

Reindeer in the tropics

Strolling reindeer (Rangifer tarandus) in the ...Image via Wikipedia
I'm not decking the halls with boughs of holly since

a) this house doesn't have halls, unlike the house in France
b) there is no holly..apart from plastic, that is

However the consumption of mince pies has reached record proportions.

Neighbours, who have invited us to eat tamales and tres leches, have returned the compliment by coming back to ours...first by single spies to reconnoitre the land and then, when no one has died from the offerings of these foreigners, en masse.
And en masse means en masse. Four generations has not been unusual, multiplied by a high birth and survival thank you the Costa Rican National Health Service...the CAJA.
I feel quite embarrassed that we have only two friends to offer in return!

To be fair, this is not the first year we have spent Christmas and New Year here, so our offerings have become accepted and acceptable...other favourites have been Queen of Puddings, sausage rolls, mulled wine, Irish coffee and Christmas cake.
Oh, and Pavlova, which I have now learned to make in one person portions.

This year Ayak's cake recipe...rejoicing in the name of Turkish cake as I gave up trying to explain how I come to have a recipe from a British lady living in Turkey whom I have never met but regard as a good friend....has been a smash hit, so much so that I have used all the packets of preserved figs that have been lurking in the cupboard and will have to buy more!

I have a last minute trip to the capital, San Jose, today, to do odds and bods and to meet friends for coffee and after the last trip I am wondering whether a flak jacket would not be a good idea.

Not against gunshot wounds despite all the bad publicity about San Jose, but to counter reindeer attack.

I have mentioned previously that when walking in San Jose it behoves you to keep your eyes lowered..not from a nun like modesty but to avoid disappearing down a manhole whose cover has been nicked for scrap.
The street vendors...always numerous...are now, at Christmas, multitudinous so that cuts the pavement width by half and while you're busy making sure you don't step in the black plastic sheet displaying illegal DVDs and avoiding the festive sock vendors on one hand and the gentleman with a  pair of odd in the sense of mismatching second hand shoes on the other, while ducking round the armed security guard on the pawn shop - well, you can see which end of town I frequent - you don't need other hazards.

But other hazards there are.

Costa Rica takes Christmas seriously. Houses are illuminated, Father Christmases beam from every front door and swags of foliage and ribbons drape every window.

Shops are not left out...there are even special shops selling Christmas stuff for other shops which spring up in mid November, giving rise to a sharp intake of breath as you round a corner against the prevailing flow of shoppers and find yourself in the presence of about fifty giant inflatable Santas.

These Santas then make their appearance at the doors of shops...on the already overcrowded pavement.....and it was while carrying two shopping bags back to the bus station last week that I found myself executing a rather nifty soft shoe shuffle to avoid a man with a barrowload of pineapple dead ahead and a lady selling sweet peppers to starboard.
It wasn't quite as nifty as I had anticipated as I had reckoned without the family emerging from the butchers to larboard, and all sails aback to avoid this hazard to navigation I bumped into one of the inflatable Santas which was sufficiently inflated to bounce me forward again onto the horns of the fibre glass reindeer which was its companion.

They make them well, these reindeer.

Very solid.

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  1. Makes you wonder why Santa doesn't invest in some safety goggles...! Have a wonderful Christmas and a very happy New Year!

  2. Steve, yes, one toss of the head and Santa's a goner!
    Have a great time with your family.

  3. Fly, that was very kind of you. I tried to send you an email, but am incapable of configuring the server...sure that sounds like a familiar story to you. Anyway, just to wish you many felices fiestas...

  4. Pueblo girl, oh yes, how familiar that sounds.
    Keep warm with all that wood....and best wishes for a super year ahead of you.

  5. Oh the inflatable santa jokes... Love stories of Christmas from all over the world. Costa Rica has been on my list for some time too (mostly for a Yoga retreat) - it's a pleasure "meeting" you in the blog world and looking forward to reading more in the new year. Cheers!

  6. It sounds like you're having such fun there, and it's wonderful to have lots of visitors at this time of year isn't it?

    So pleased the cake was a success....I feel almost famous now haha!

  7. Valerie, I had never seen an inflatable Santa before coming to Costa inflatable dog, yes, which I credit with upgrading Kensal Rise in London to superstar status single pawed..but no Santas.
    I'm enjoying your blog....I do miss European wine...but we have a decent claret smuggled in in the luggage for Christmas.

  8. Ayak, you could probably patent that cake recipe....and if anyone could deal with well deserved fame gracefully, it would be you.
    We are having fun....and with Mr. Fly's health improving, slowly, to be sure, but noticeably...we both feel a lot happier.

  9. Have a fabulous time - he says through gritted teeth as he shivers in minus 4 in Wales.

  10. Mark, have a great time with your family...despite the temperatures.

  11. Maybe those inflatable Santas could take over as manhole covers - at least one obstacle would bounce you away from another. Happy new year!

  12. Zoe, that is a wonderful idea! I can visualise it and it would be a super addition to San Jose street furniture!