It's been a different Christmas this year, but good all the same. With John gone, my Christmas Eve started with a sleepless night, as the wind howled through the marina, I was up several times to check our lines throughout the night. Come morning, I moved the boat to a slightly more protected slip, then it was off to the markets with Mary from Sorceress! We wandered through downtown looking for fresh produce and assorted odds and ends. Of course it was a zoo, with lots of last minute shoppers out and about, and the street vendors in full force. But it was great to explore with Mary, as she has been coming to La Paz for 10 years, and knew all the best places to shop, and most of the shop keepers. We found our needed supplies, and headed back to the marina, after a fabulous lunch of chile rellanos. Mmmm....
I spent the evening with new friends on Pisces, Jacob and Julia, and their friends Curt and Nancy from Raven. Jacob ferried Curt, Nancy and I out from the docks to their anchored boat - doing three wet trips through the chop in their 2 passenger dinghy. Julia made a spectacular rib roast, along with knoodles (german specialty - sp??), and we enjoyed the evening sharing stories about our travels so far, and the nuances of each of our boats. As it turns out - Curt and Nancy had looked at Renova when she was for sale a few years back. Small world. After dinner we wandered downtown (again, thanks to Jacob's ferry service), and found ourselves at Midnight Mass in a large catholic church, presided by the bishop! It was a fascinating experience. Some notable moments included:
- The bishop and his 'team' were ushered in to the tune of Jingle Bells.
- The music throughout the service was provided by a BAND...complete with vocalists, electric guitars, bass, violin, snare drum and cow bell.
- Listening to a service in another language is fascinating....it allows one to imagine what the content of the service is, but also to listen to the tone of the speakers, paying attention to the fine details that aren't as obvious when you are focused on the content.
- The church was stunning - there was standing room only, and the congregation was obviously very devout.
- The incense that was burned throughout the service was strong and tickled at the eyes and throats of us gringos. The locals seemed less affected, although there were sporadic coughing fits throughout the service.
- All of the hymns/carols were familiar melodies, but in Spanish, making the differences in language seem less significant somehow.