While many of you are finishing up your shopping, things here are already closed and the town "shut down" for Christmas! This year we've enjoyed some treats from home and cherish the quiet of a long weekend, but we've also spent much time talking about the people who surround us who have so little. It's heartbreaking to see people suffering, and this time of year many of the poorer folks from around the island come to Puerto to beg on the streets, often hauling young children around town with them, their plastic cups or hands held out in silent plea for help. Of course, like everywhere else for some this is just a good way to get a little extra at Christmas, but for others extreme poverty is a sad way of life and Christmas, with the lights and decorations, is a bit of beauty to enjoy.
On of the things we did this year was make plates of cookies for the many people who serve us throughout the year-- airport security folks, tower control personnel, those who sell us fuel, truck drivers that deliver our fuel down south, and so on. It was fun to take pretty plates of cookies around and wish them all a Merry Christmas. Most of them, like the girls who work in our home, could never afford ingredients to bake cookies at home, and if they could get ingredients they wouldn't have an oven to bake them in.
Asians seem to love their Christmas decorations, and lights! I need to get a picture of some of the tricycles driving around town with nativity scenes, santa claus, or greenery on them. Garry saw a huge Christmas tree from the air one day, and we went to the port to see it from the ground. At over 100 feet tall, it is reported to be the tallest Christmas tree in Asia-- actually, this picture doesn't really do it justice, but it does give some idea of the size. Of course, it isn't a real tree, but chicken wire, greenery, and ribbons!