How I went to Mass before Christmas and experienced soldiers in action

28/09/2021

This Christmas time in Angola ... I'll probably never get used to it. Everything is different here and I realize that our Czech Christmas is unique. Frost, Christmas markets, live and fragrant fir trees and punch, which I can hardly indulge in here in the heat. I had to exchange live food for plastic spruce, I indulge in the smell of needles thanks to pine and juniper essence, I exchanged walking around the Christmas markets for slapping on the beach, and instead of a punch I take a chilled Booster. I have come to terms with the fact that I will not experience the Christmas atmosphere the way I like it. We have a tree and I overcame it and baked cookies, ours, traditional Czech and the apartment smelled of vanilla. The whole of Luanda is beautifully decorated and lights are flashing everywhere, Santa is standing in front of every shop by a real Christmas tree, and gospels are coming from the big shopping centers. My husband and I walk among the shelves and together we collect gifts for our nieces and nephews. I focus on the girly ones and Eurico explores car models and who knows what. His eyes glow with excitement, like a little boy. "I'll take these three dolls," I announce, throwing them straight into the cart. "What about you? Do you have a choice?" I ask impatiently in my voice, because I don't like it anymore. "I have, I'm taking this," and shows me a box of cars to control. "Yeah," I say, taking two boxes from his hand to speed up the process. There will be no beach party Then, when we sit contentedly on the balcony in the pre-Christmas heat and drink a chilled Booster, I raise my almost regular question: "Can I go to the beach with Dana (she is one of my Czech friends who also lives in Luanda) tomorrow?" "Yeah, you can, we don't have anything tomorrow," he replies contentedly, blowing smoke from a cigarette. I'm excited, I'll be on the beach again tomorrow. Over the last few months, this has become our tradition and I regularly go to the beach with Dana. Ika doesn't like it and doesn't want to go there. He doesn't like the sun and he's hot on the beach. This apologizes for the beach party. I sit happily in a chair on the balcony and check how beautiful I am tanned and I brag about how handy I am that I didn't get burned this time. Iko appreciates it too. My recent lounging on the beach ended up with blisters on my back and who knows where everywhere. "Hi, I have a request for you," Dana interrupts from contemplating my bronze skin on the phone. "What, tell me," I ask eagerly, and she gradually introduces me to the new situation and her wishes. He wants me to go to Mass with her for her recently deceased sister-in-law. The church is in the center, about 50 minutes drive from my home. "I'll try to arrange it," I say, taking time to think. Mass is the next evening at six o'clock. It's probably too late for our driver and I don't know if Iko will want to go anywhere in the evening. "I would need to pick up Dana tomorrow at six o'clock and go to Mass da Nossa Senhora dos Remédios with her," I immediately address the situation with Ik and at the same time explain to him what happened. "You go with the driver, he takes you there and then sleeps with us," he replies without hesitation. The most beautiful church in Luanda I am glad that the church is in a beautiful place and it is one of the most beautiful churches in Luanda. Maybe in Angola, he stands next to the Presidential and Judicial Palace. Claudio, our driver drops us in front of the church and leaves because he doesn't have a parking permit. I look around. It's beautiful, all the streets are hung with Christmas lights, the palm trees around are lit in all colors, the houses are decorated for Christmas and the church, in front of which there is a beautiful park, is breathtaking. Clean with a yellow and white facade and huge. Beautiful building and I'm really looking forward to it. My astonishment watches the passing peacock, which at one moment turns its back on me, flutters its tail and shows itself in all its glory. It probably warns me who or what is worth admiring here. Mourning guests are already meeting in front of the church and welcoming each other. Dana introduces me to them, she herself has not seen most of them for several years. She is glad she had the opportunity to come and tells me again how much she appreciates that I have complied. We move slowly inside. It's fascinating. It's so huge, beautifully decorated, I don't know where to look before. We are sitting on beautiful massive, carved benches and Dana explains to me that the president goes to this church, which is why he is so lavish and rich. I sit quietly next to Dana and just follow my head with their heads down I watch the others pray and sing. It's a strange feeling and I have a chill running down my spine. Military raid in front of the Presidential Palace It is already dark outside, I am almost blind from the glow of the church and I can't even see my toe. Everything is magically lit and flashing. "I have to take a picture and shoot it," I tell Dana. Dana and I shorten the wait for the driver by taking photos here and there, I also shoot some videos and I turn around my axis nicely to capture all the beauty. Suddenly we hear from a distance, somewhere from the gate, a soldier shouting at us. We don't understand either, because it's really far enough, but we both say hello and say, "OK." He was obviously satisfied, we talk to each other and Dana and continue taking photos. Suddenly we see a large military car coming and stopping by us is and jumps armed soldiers rushing to us. It was a second, we didn't even have time to breathe. "What's happening?" I ask dreadedly, Dany, hoping she will give me an answer. "I don't know," I hear her frightened voice. We both look at each other in terror, unaware of what will happen. "Ma'am, you can't take pictures here!" the soldier tells us in a stern voice and I'm starting to worry about my cell phone. "Why not?" I ask timidly and with tears in my eyes. "You don't know where you are, madam?" the soldier asks incomprehensibly. "Well, in front of the church, I was here for Mass and now I'm waiting for the driver, so I'm taking pictures of the church and the beautiful decoration," I try to play on ignorance and naivety. The soldier shakes his head (I think the other soldiers around him just laughed softly) and adds in a stern voice, "You're here at the Presidential Palace. You can't take pictures here or stand. Where's the driver?" he asks impatiently. "He should be here any minute," I try to explain that we really have to wait where we are. "Come with me," he nods at one of the soldiers and leads us a short distance away. "This one will wait here with you," and points to the assigned soldier. "You can't stand here unattended, it's dangerous," he adds on the way back to the car. "It's coming," I shout after a few minutes, pointing to the oncoming car. The soldier opens the door for us, shouts something at the driver, in the sense that he is late and we leave happily. Along the way, I tell Claudio the whole story and he laughs as he grabs his stomach. Me too now, but it's been a rough time. According to my husband, I am probably the first person to make videos at this place. : D Long live Christmas.