Even though it feels like August, it's definitely December. My calendar says so, my friends say so and the children at school are already high on the Christmas atmosphere (which makes them unbearable, by the way). So, Christmas must be near.
Every year, somewhere around late November, I get this warm, gingerbread feeling. It means Christmas is coming and it's time to start working on my the gift list. I like the freezing cold outside as long as it's cozy and warm inside, I like the long evenings and decorating my flat. When it comes to Christmas, I'm surprisingly traditional. That is why it's so difficult for me to accept the fact that it's December. Here, Christmas doesn't really exist. No Christmas spirit plust weekly trips to the beach mean it's must be August.
Gabon does its best, of course. Some shops are decorated with Joyeux Noel signs all year long (and some with Happy Easter). I think the owners simply consider the decorations pretty enough to keep them for ever (it said Merry Christmas on the window of our train compartment in October). Big shops are decorated with different kinds of ornaments and you can even buy a real Christmas tree (which would probably survive two days in this heat). In one of the supermarkets we saw an African Santa with a very fake beard, sitting under a very real tree and taking children onto his lap. Just like America.
Trees along Bord de Mer street have been wrapped in colourful fabrics (apparently, a big improvement compared to last year, which saw blue plastic bags attached to palm trees). And I've done tons of Christmas activities with the kids, including singing We Wish You A Merry Christmas until my ears fell off.
And still, it's not the same. It's all fake, unnatural, like the Santa's beard. I'm happy to be heading for Poland on Thursday. All the essential Christmas ingredients are waiting for me there.