Friday, 23 December 2011

Happy holidays from the Christmas lizard

Downtown square in Mobay
Christmas is coming in Montego Bay! And despite the occasional flurries of orange and green election colours, people here in Jamaica make a big deal about Christmas, including all of the usual trimmings plus palm trees.

I have been having my own Christmas adventures this week.  It all started on Sunday, when I was trimming my tree, kindly lent to me by my neighbour.  It was a nice little fake tree, about 3 feet high.  I set it on the table and was putting up lights and then the ornaments.  I noticed a little brown twig and thought, "that would be a good place for an ornament".  I reached up, and the twig moved!  Upon closer inspection, I saw that there was a lizard sitting in my Christmas tree, probably wishing me season's greetings, but anxious to get to his own parties.

Couldn't quite get the focus right, but you can see him.
 I've never had a lizard in my Christmas tree before! Snow, yes, birds' nests, yes, but no lizards.  A Christmas first. A short tussle later, involving the dustpan and a reptile that was not at all convinced this was a good idea, we arrived at a relocation plan.

Santa's little helper, free to return to the wild (but probably not to the north pole.)
After all that fun, I went down to the Yacht Club for a lovely Christmas lunch, at which I not only ate turkey, but also some ham and some beef! (I was sooooo full!) After lunch, Santa Claus arrived at the YC via boat.

Here he comes...
All the kids ran down the dock to see him. (You have to imagine the pitter-patter of little feet on the planks)
"Have you been a good girl this year?"
Chantal and baby Alexa - her first Christmas.
I also attended the Flanker Peace and Justice Centre "Evening of Excellence" that same day.  This is the Centre where I was placed for the first two months of my placement, and it was nice to go back and see some of the people I knew and had worked alongside. The evening showcased the talents of the community youth.

To start it all off, the marching band toured the neighbourhood. Apologies for the poor videography. (Nate, I need some tips.)

The concert was held in the yard just outside the centre.  It included lots of enthusiastic performances - singing, dancing, and poetry recitations.

Waiting for the concert to start.
Sanika Nash, age 8, reciting a poem.
The junior youth dancers, including an energetic Santa.

On a non-Christmas note, on Wednesday my neighbour and I went to eat really good fish. The fish was served Jamaican style, which means that the fish is cleaned and then cooked and served whole.  We had ours steamed, which included the infamous Jamaican water crackers and vegetables (pieces of carrots, pumpkin and okra). It took up the entire plate.  I successfully ate the whole thing, with only minor pokes from the bones. I even ate the eyeball! (Well, sucked on it, really.) That kinda grossed me out, but it was tasty! Credit for the photos below goes to Tamara.

"Really - you want me to put WHAT in my mouth?"
"I ate the WHOLE thing."  - Good Jamaicans clean their plates!
You will note that I'm wearing a scarf because it was a little chilly.  Not chilly like "anywhere in Canada right now" chilly, but chilly like "used to a temperature range of 26-30 degrees" chilly (79-86 F for my American readers).  What can I say, 24 degrees felt cold?

Keep warm for the holidays wherever you are. Tomorrow is Christmas Eve and my parents arrive in Jamaica - best Christmas present ever! I hope you will celebrate or just relax with people you love and enjoy good food and festivities.

Sending Caribbean sun your way - Julia

1 comment:

  1. I think a christmas lizard is much more welcome than the christmas mice I've experienced in the past!