In 2005, Christmas Eve was on a Saturday. Because today is the Saturday before Christmas, I am thinking of where I was last year at this time. This is from my journal:
Saturday, 24 Dec 2005
“We’re all back in our hotel. I bought a small rug and before we finished the complementary cup of tea, I was persuaded to buy another. As I’m writing this, I hear out the window of our room in the Black Iris Hotel, the unmistakable sounds of what we’ll call the Madaba Bagpipe Santa Band and Percussion Group. This has to be the same group of men dressed in variations of Santa Clause that was marching down the street outside the Maaia brothers’ rug shop when we were there earlier.
“No sooner had the Santa Band piled back into their Santa Tour Bus, our gracious Innkeeper, Asna, called to inquire about A, who is starting to come down with a cold. Earlier we had walked down to the lobby to ask for a cup of tea. Of course, I was given a tray with 3 china cups and saucers and a small bowl of sugar.
“When I mentioned we planned to get some take-out soup to bring A, when we went out to get our own dinner, our Innkeeper insisted over my objections that she would make soup, “When you are here, you are my family." J and K insist I was right, after profusely refusing twice, to finally concede and say A would be grateful to have some hot soup.”
This is from M's Journal:
"We stopped in a shop where young head-scarved women were making mosaics. Some are unmounted so that tourists can roll them up and take them home. We might have bought one, but we could not ask the price - they spoke no English. Most people do, to my surprise.
"The rug dealers fed us mint tea in lovely glasses, by the ubiquitous propane heater. It was about 50 degrees (F) and sunny today, a lovely spring day to me, and our hotel hostess assured us we would freeze."
Later that evening, on Christmas Eve, leaving A resting comfortably after her hot soup, J, K, M and I went out to dinner at the restaurant across the street from the Christian church with the ancient Roman mosaic map of the middle east. We had too much delicious food, three or four bottles of absolutely terrible local wine, and a hubbly bubbly filled with good cheer. I will never forget the music looping endlessly in the background during dinner: Jose Feliciano’s incongruous Felice Navidad.
A truly memorable Christmas eve.