Posted by: seasin | December 17, 2010

Revealed-of White Christmases, blue fish and ice cream trucks

This post won’t make much sense but I have to write it.

I’m in Mauritius. This is where my love has brought me to live for the next 3 or 4 years.

I write this during my lunch break, sitting in my new office, listening to the haunting tune played by an ice-cream truck canvassing the narrow sloped roads of my neighbourhood.

It’s a red truck with bright yellow and blue decorations dangling everywhere. I keep thinking to myself, how bizarre, Christmas is coming and all I can think of is whether I can get out of the building fast enough to catch the ice cream truck, and whether I should get some vanilla ice cream, or a mango sorbet, or a passion fruit sorbet, or all three.

A tall, rather bizarre looking Christmas tree is pouting in my front room at home, still naked in its green, sort of feathery glory. I can’t bring myself to decorate it. It’s 30 degrees out there, bright sun, soft breeze, an obscene orgy of blues in the skies and waters all around us. As much as I try, Christmas as I know it has no place in this. The air doesn’t smell cold. There are no frozen red noses, and fingers, ears or toes. There is no need for spiced cookies and hot mulled wine and hearty dishes featuring root vegetables and cranberries and long-roast huge birds (not sure you can get cranberries here, anyway). I should be sad and home-sick, because I love my Romanian Christmas-and I had started to love a proper UK Christmas, too. I love the preparations, the cooking, the smell in the house, I loved getting home from the snow and the wind and the chill and curling up by the fire with a hot chocolate. As I’m not a religious person at all, Christmas was always more a time for retreat, for food and sharing with friends and family, and the most of it was heavily influenced by the timing of Christmas in the Northern Hemisphere winter. So…yes, I should feel sad, deprived and home sick.

But…on Wednesday I had a working lunch with my new colleagues and this lunch will blow you over. We were at Beau Rivage, on the east coast of the island. Can you picture a white beach, a lagoon that defies description, and a day too perfect for even a pro writer to describe in words? Can you picture a whole setting that would actually look unbelievably cheesy if in a poster somewhere on a wall? Good, now take a white marquee and pin it on the shallow bottom of the lagoon, about 30 metres off the beach. Done? Bring cast iron tables and matching chairs, and carefully arrange them under the marquee in the transparent, 29 degrees water-it’s only 20 cm deep there.  Set them with impecable, crisp white linens, gleaming china and silverware, nice glasses and gorgeous flowers. Take 30-odd marketing people, heads buzzing with figures, pie charts, reports and such, and make them take their shoes off and roll up their trousers (they should keep their ties). No trousers rolling up required for the ladies. Now point the marquee to them and calmly inform them that’s where they’re having lunch. Watch their expression and secretly grin.

Convince them to wade into the lagoon towards the tables, plying them with fresh passion fruit juice in tall, frosted glasses. Sit them down and feed them perfect food. Listen to their hearts sing. After a while, gently coax them to get up (it will take a lot of work!!!), wade them back to shore. Have smiling people in colorful shirts help them rinse their feet, insist that they don’t have to put their socks back on. Dispatch scented moist towels, fresh taken out of a freezer to pass on hands and brows. Invite them back to their marketing stuff meeting.

Do you think they like their job and they’ll go back to doing it passionately for one more year? You think right.

Do you think I should not pine for Christmas As I Knew It and bask in the gorgeousness of my new home country? You bet! There will be time for white Christmas…Just not now. I’m busy trying to find out the name of the bright blue little fish which nibbled at my toes during lunch last Wednesday.

And oh, did I mention I love my new job?

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