In my fevered imagination, an Italian man with a heavy accent (think Nintendo’s most treasured character) converses with an English gentleman. “What are you doing for Christmas?” says the gent. “I’m-a going to Goa,” says Mario. “Yes, but where are you going to go-a?” replies Lord Snooty. This farcical exchange continues for a while, ending acrimoniously when Snooty asserts that the Italian is without both brain and passport. (In case you didn’t know, ‘With Out Passport’ is believed by many to be the source of a crude and notorious acronym.)
This tedious preamble should lead you to conclude that I am in Goa, and that Christmas is upon us. That Goa was a Portuguese colony should go some way towards explaining the festive atmosphere in the vicinity of our locale, which is Colva Beach. While I was enjoying a postprandial whetting of my whistle (the tasty local beer is called King’s Black Label) a procession of people transporting floats in celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ flowed past. It transpires there are many Indian Catholics in Goa. I don’t know why this came as a surprise to me.
Tacky it may be, but the experience of hearing familiar Christmas songs while nursing sunburn in a beach shack over a cold beer is not an entirely unpleasant one. Indeed, the sight of a large and three-dimensional representation of Frosty the Snowman being wheeled through the sun-baked streets caused me a great deal of mirth.
Tangentially, I cannot listen to ‘Jingle Bells’ without doubts being raised in my mind about Batman’s dedication to hygiene. Indeed, Batman’s malodorous constitution is paralleled only by Robin’s propensity towards desertion in the line of duty in my associations with this particular piece of music.
I swam in the Arabian sea today. The water was as hot as the hot towels you get on aeroplanes. I floated around for twenty minutes without feeling even the slightest bit chilly. If it’s cold where you are – and it probably is – I apologise for this gratuitous reminder that for me, this year’s winter exists only as an abstract concept. If it makes you feel better, I’ll be back next winter, colder than you and probably hosting several viruses simultaneously.