Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Christmas at the Equator

We have actually experienced this before when we lived in the southern hemisphere and were in deep summer for the holidays, but we never got used to it there either.

Today I rode my bike over to MaxMart to get some butter and raisin bread (and ended up with all kinds of other stuff I didn't know I needed until I saw it in the store!). I'm wandering down the aisles, checking to see if they have salted saltines (NO), garlic vinaigrette (NO), Koo Brand baked beans (YES), shredded mozzarella (YES), Hershey bar for Coop (NO), fresh mushrooms (NO), and some chicken hot dogs (YES), and the store sound system is playing a whole bunch of standard Christmas carols. It felt so weird to be standing there, sweating from the bike ride, wearing a spandex tank top and sandals, humming The First Noel.

I've lived in warm places in the U.S. - Houston, Tampa, Central Mississippi, and the Mojave freakin' desert! But they are none of them hot in December. They may seem that way to Canadians, but they aren't, and it snowed in every single one of those places while I lived in them, except Tampa- and even there I'm sure my timing was just off.

Ninety degrees and ninety percent humidity just isn't the stuff of Rum Toddies and chestnuts roasting on an open fire. But that doesn't faze the people of Ghana. The country is only about forty percent Christian (another 40 percent follows Tribal spiritual teaching and the rest are Muslim or undecided) but Accra is decorated from stem to stern already and has been for a couple of weeks. Multi colored lights are everywhere and there are life sized robotic dancing Santas in the stores singing carols for your enjoyment. All the stores have converted a huge chunk of their floor space to toy departments, and MelCom even has those ubiquitous inflatable Snowmen for your front yard. Which is hilarious in a city where every single front yard is enclosed on all sides by an eight or ten foot wall topped with razor wire. I guess yard decorations are just for you and your friends here. ;-)

So, I'm trying to adjust my Holiday Thermostat and get into the spirit of the season- I've put a nice Christmas Jazz album on the stereo, and I feel more Christmasy already. The really silly part is that we like to celebrate the Solstice and welcome the return of the light each year, but here at the center of the globe, the Solstice/daylight difference is about 45 seconds from winter to summer.

"Hey honey, did it seem two or three seconds lighter today than it did last week?"
HA! Joke's on us.