All entries for Friday 31 December 2004

December 31, 2004

The Rubbishest Christmas Ever

Follow-up to México from Esprit de l'escalier

I should qualify the title of this blog by saying that the day in question was the rubbishest Christmas I have ever experienced, which isn't saying much, considering my family are a wholesome, loving and stable, albeit slightly eccentric bunch. For all you poor souls out there who didn't get the chance to go to Mexico and soak up the sun and Tequila and had much worse Christmas than I am about to describe, then all I can say is: 'bless'. All the same, please read on…

We spent Christmas in Merida, the capital of the state of Yucatan (sorry, pedants: I can't be arsed to use the accents today). Not your typical traditional British Christmas with the relatives, the drinks cabinet and the Great Escape, of which I am deeply fond. Rather, we were holed up in a crappy hotel way inland (so no beach to while the day away upon), with few presents to open and no Christmas meal to start preparing. On top of that, I had developed some kind of lockjaw ailment. Obviously, having not been bitten recently by anything bigger than a skeeter, it wasn't, but this did not make eating any less painful. Jake was also ill.

We were bored. Not even the weather was a winner. If it had been sunny, a dip in the hotel pool would have been something to do. But oh no. It went and bloody rained. In the middle of the dry season. All day. It wasn't even warm rain. It was cool. Possibly not as cool as you had it here, but it wasn't fun. If it had been as sweltering as was before, my Martin Sheen in Apocalypse Now-style fit of existential ansgt while lying on my bed would have been pretty sweet. What a waste of a good mirror.

Luckily I had bought my Dad the Private Eye 2004 Annual, which gave me something to read. That and the closing chapters of Crime And Punishment. Festive! The telly offered little better than a dubbed Titanic and regular adverts. Despite early enthusiasm, the family procrastinated all day – quite typically, in fact – so that we missed Mass, which was quite hard to do in Merida seeing as there was one every hour.

My desire for turkey had peaked, as it usually does, at 3pm; when we got to one of the few restaurants that were serving it (out of the few restaurants which were actually open) it was nearer 9. I suppose the saving grace of this Christmas meal was that it was a darn sight more memorable than other ones. It was a coffee bar, with a tiny restaurant upstairs. The other group of people there were roughly my age, clearly having escaped their respective families to socialise. Music of the 1980s (Spandau Ballet, Queen and Phil Collins – my, do the Mexicans love The Collins?!) was drowning out what was left of our Christmas cheer. And the icing on the cake: for some reason they brought us our starters at the same time as the turkey, so after I finished my beautiful Sopa de Lima (look forward to lashings of it next term, mis housemates!), I ate cold turkey. Brilliant.

So that was my Christmas. How was yours?

December 2004

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