Christmas Day in Jakarta – A Non-Political Post for a Change!

Having to rise at day-break is an experience I rarely relish- no, that’s inaccurate; I NEVER care to surface before the sun is high. That doesn’t make me a lazy devil, though to be fair I can be as indolent as the next man. Fact is, my normal working hours begin arvo and continue on into the night, so much the same as yours, except for the start-time.

 Sunrise in Jakarta!

However, today, the Christmas Service was scheduled for a 9am kick-off, hence with Jakarta traffic unpredictable, even on a holiday, my alarm summoned me just after 6 o’clock, Fighting the demonically-inspired urge to roll over and watch some carols later on TV, the Kraken woke!

I surged into action, mild hyperbole again, slow shaving, repeated caffeine dosages and a diversion for feline feeding purposes resulting a departure after half past seven, This lethargy was enhanced by a peek out the window, no rain, so traffic no better than it should be, but no worse either.

Of course the blog had to be checked, quick input, resisting, in the name of Seasonal Goodwill, any inclination to take offence at some oik whose (naturally unpublished) comment suggested I was a ‘rightwing death-pig!’ 

Then time to hit the trail.

A microlet took me to the most promising main road, then a Taxiku cab to Jalan Jaksa, for the roads were devoid of vehicles, time aplenty, to see if Ning’s Books was open. It wasn’t, nor was Pappa Cafe, surely an uncommon sight, those gates barred to thirsty customers, but I plodded down to Kebon Sirih and turned right, towards my destination.

The Short-Cut!

I passed the ‘short-cut’ I’d almost used all those years ago, my first night in town, a babe in the wood, and, as you can see from the photograph, even in day-light it doesn’t look enticing – would I have fallen prey to preman (local hoods) had not that kind Jakartan couple not stopped to tell me ‘don’t walk through there at night, mister!’

On to church, a police post manned by half-a dozen of them, all smiling Christmas greetings as I approached. Their presence was not due to its being a place of worship for many foreigners – all Christian churches were guarded in much the same way.

  Jakarta Christmas Scene

I did say this post would be apolitical, so I’ll save for another my comments on the Bogor Police, who blockaded an entire street, so the Yasmin Christians there could not worship in their own church – this was done, according to the cops, ‘for their own safety!’

Unladen with bag or briefcase, they nodded me through and there it was, All Saints’ Jakarta, founded in 1819, so older than I’d previously thought. It’s a lovely building, simplicity the key-note, but of great fascination are the tomb-stones embedded in the walls, which I include for your interest.

   All Saints, Jakarta

    Here, a victim of pirates!

          And a fond memorial for a young lady

This, below, was created by a POW in WW2!

The carols listed for us to sing were all the old faves, Silent Night, Hark the Herald, Come All Ye Faithful, so they were ‘given laldy,’ as the forebears might have said!

With plenty of time in hand, I was able to linger afterwards long enough to indulge in the post-carolling refreshments in the garden, where not only were local snacks provided, with tea, coffee and soft drinks, but also a large yummy birthday cake, which was explained by the Australian pastor as entirely appropriate, for 25th December is Someone’s Birthday, right, mate? 

 The Church’s spacious garden

 Finally got going, and since it was dry but not hot, I enjoyed a half-hour walk to Grand Indonesia mall, where we lunched in the not outrageously expensive Kado, which, BTW, serves delicious pork (an act of cannibalism by the rightwing death-pig!?!) so a Christmas meal in a Japanese resto, and why not?


Afterwards, a wander around the stores, though I was sorry to see Kinokinuya has closed down in Plaza Indonesia, though they have Periplus and Aksara, with Gramedia across in the Grand! Now home, to rest and read and eat and blog, at least till Thursday, when work beckons…trying not to think about that.