Merry Christmas! We began the day with 7am Mass. What an awesome experience. We obviously couldn’t understand a thing the priest or anyone was saying but, as always, could follow the rhythm of the Mass. The Christmas music was simply stunning. The church was tucked away down an alley with no signs or anyway directional guidance. It’s almost as though it were a secret club.
Once there, we mistakenly sat in the old people’s pew which we only discovered when the Eucharist was delivered to us personally (oops.)
Oh yeah, and they call God… Allah. Alrighty then. That took a little getting used to. Yes, we were in the right church as evidenced by the Blessed Mother to the right side in the front.
At the end of the Mass, they had a special Christmas presentation whereby a little girl did a traditional Java dance (SOOOOO COOL) and the priest joined her. The congregation laughed. He laughed. It was just awesome. They must love that guy.
Another musical segment was a dance routine to Jingle Bells and included a handful of nuns. They were adorable and all came over to us after Mass to stand in line and shake our hand wishing us Merry Christmas. They were simply adorable, and so young, and so many. It makes me long for the day that we had a plethora of nuns. One stopped and practiced her English too. She must be a good student because her English was great.
After Mass we headed back to the hotel for breakfast and as you’ll note, I’ve done quite a bit of catch up in uploading images and movies from the past couple days. (whew!) Man are we going to sleep when we get home… with a smile on our faces of course.
If I were the sultan I would start by improving the water treatment plants, move on to the cleaning up the streets, and create city planning guidance… those thoughts continue to circle my mind as we trek through this overcrowded city. Traffic is a constant pulse at all hours laying a hot and humid exhaust across the city. Sprawl is as far as the eye can see. Most are very poor.
Our guide, Toto’s most memorable quote: Jogja (what the locals call Yogyakarta) is NOT a muslim country. It’s a country whose religion happens to be mostly muslim.
Today we walked about a mile in the torturous sun to the street markets. There are miles and miles of little markets. You’d easily get the impression that everyone in Yogja is an entrepreneur/business owners. They point in every direction and the wares are extremely inexpensive.
There are no formal crossing paths so pedestrians must take their lives into their own hands when crossing the street. The heat was sweltering but once in sight of the market entrance, we were able to duck under the side cover and move through the vendors as part of a herd of people moving in the same direction (remember to stay on the left as this is a left-hand country!) We only veered to the right side a couple times out of muscle memory and were quickly guided back to the left.
We were quite the celebrities. Several people stopped to ask if they could take pictures with us and practice their English. To say we stand out in a crowd is an understatement. We’re at least twice as tall as anyone, “transparent” in skin color to quote our guide in Israel, and the only blonde/ginger within a thousand miles.
OK – time for Christmas dinner! Merry Christmas to all. We love you and miss you and are so excited to come back with some great stories. XO