One day I should sit down and count how many different countries I have spent Christmas in. I guess that it would be around twenty, including one, Saudi Arabia, where Christmas was actually illegal, and I was an outlaw Father Christmas wearing a contraband Santa Claus outfit borrowed from a Saudi princess. One of the best Christmas Days was in Kiev when the worst of times turned into the best of times, after my passport, credit cards, keys to my home etc, which had been stolen on a crowded metro, were returned to me. This made the blue and red Santas competing for business of any kind in the main square seem more appealing.
I once saw one of the guards at the eternal flame in Moldova being kissed and hugged by his girlfriend to keep him warm, while the other one stood to attention, but perhaps the strangest sight I ever saw was in South Korea where I saw a smoking Santa standing in front of a place called the F--k Club, watching a performing dog being warmed by a portable heater.
This Christmas was spent on a beach in Oman, with Swedish tourists, eating king prawns, mussels, roast turkey and an outstanding Christmas pudding cooked by an Indian chef, whilst watching Russian and Philippina entertainers.
The Light of Faith
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