December 25th 1981

posted in: Innocents Abroad | 0
Christmas dinner!

“On Christmas Day in the morning…”  So this was it, the big one, the day we’d been looking forward to for so long, yet telling ourselves not to look forward to it, since it would be bound to prove a disappointment.  My first event of the day was Val waking me up to wish me Merry Christmas… + then dragging me out of bed.  The hotel had said they would put a call thro’ between 8 + 9, so that was where we trotted.  On the way, Val was telling me about how depressed she was feeling.  She was already missing home for Christmas, + to make things worse, she’d had all sorts of dreams last night in which she’d been rejected.  And then the hotel phone wasn’t working, so she felt even worse by the time we got back, tho’ she cheered a little when I gave her her Christmas sock, with a few little presents.

We went back to bed for a couple of hours, + then all 4 went out to seek breakfast.  We returned to La Olla Podrida, the restaurant we’d had such poor service at before, + tho’ the food was good + cheap, the service was no better.  Afterwards, Val + I returned to the hotel to see about the phone call, but still no luck – their phone still wasn’t working.  Val bought me my Christmas present on the way back – a large machete in a leather sheath.  Unfortunately, it was a little too large, + wouldn’t even fit in our bag, but still…

In the afternoon, we walked around town, taking a couple of pictures, then decided to try to phone one last time.  And this time, we got thro’!  It was a pretty poor line, + we said next to nothing, but still.  The funny thing was, that when making the call, Val said to her mum, “Must go, this is very expensive.”  Then, when we rang off + asked how much it cost, the hotel charged us $20 – we had made a reverse charge call!

So, back to the Casa Margarita, happier + not much poorer.  Following our example, Roland too bought a machete, tho’ of a much more sensible size.  Seeing it, we regretted having rashly purchased one so unwieldy, so we went out + managed to exchange ours for one similar.  We lost money on the deal, but were far happier about it.  Had quite a good Christmas Dinner – bread + sardines, then fresh fruit salad.  That, with cider, beer, + tequila, made for as good a feast as we could expect.

Not the usual family affair, then, but a relatively dismal trek back and forth to the hotel.  And though we did get through – Val would have been even more cast down if we had failed entirely, it was all pretty unsatisfactory, as such rushed calls used to be.

Not sure it would be quite so easy to buy a machete nowadays, but then maybe not.  For all its faults, we always felt safe in Mexico, but that is far from the case nowadays, from what one reads.

This year -2021 – we are not eating sardines for Christmas dinner, however appropriate that might be as a gesture.

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