Sunday, July 27, 2008

Sydney Experience part 2

Continuing my story...

Sunday July 13--We started our day attending Mass at a local church, St. Brendan's. It was just a few blocks away. Our group literally filled one side of the church! The pastor introduced us and he said a special blessing for us. Towards the end of mass, a group of pilgrims from New York showed up. Their bags were at the front entrance of the church. They had literally just arrived.

Someone had heard the the Pope was going to sail into Darling Harbour. We decided that was something we wanted to see. We bought bus tickets at ASD $24 for 10 trips, multiple regions. When we got there, we found out that we were FOUR DAYS EARLY! We surely had to laugh at that....probably one of the few times we would be early for ANYTHING. There was a street performer so we sat there and watched his WHOLE eating, balloon eating, fire juggling...

Monday July 14-- Up early. It was our day to move to our homestay for WYD activities. Fr. Julian was bringing a bus to transport us to the house in Marrickville. It was an uneventful ride. From the outside the house looked decent. But once Sr. Elena opened the door, we knew we were in for a rude awakening. Worn carpet with fibers coming out. Peeling paint (who knows if there was lead in it). Floor in the kitchen separating from the rest of the house. Four rooms, but only two with the illness-making carpet. The other two rooms had no covering, just bare dusty wood. Two bathrooms for 29 people. TWO. Some of the kids with allergies started sneezing and having reactions to the environment. We spent the rest of the day in a nearby park, trying to get our lodging arranged. Would we stay in Pauline's sister's condo? Go back to the lodge? Close our eyes, lungs and mouths and grin and bear the health hazardous house? Meanwhile, Fr. Joe, Br. Joe, Br. Marvin, Jermaine, John and Jason were on their way to come see us. We had to coordinate schedules for the coming days. It took them THREE hours to find us! they were describing a park with water. The park we were at had NO water. ACK! They were at the other end of Marrickville. Three hours later, we finally met up. They got a look at the house. They surely got their practice for the pilgrim walk on Saturday! After phone calls to a couple of people back on Guam, it was decided that we would go back to the Annandale Lodge. Lucky for us, there were still vacancies. Compared to the house, the lodge looked like a castle! Lisa, Richard and I stayed behind with most of the baggage. We sent the rest of the group on the bus with the things they could carry. It took three maxi cabs to get all our baggage back to Annandale. What a tiring day!

Slide show #2!

Friday, July 25, 2008

My Sydney Experience

This is going to be a long-winded post! I got back from Sydney yesterday morning. Still trying to catch up on lost sleep from traveling and from being at World Youth Day (they should really call it World Youth Week).

We left Guam at 4:20 pm on July 10th and arrived in Sydney via Narita Japan at 6am on July 11th. Total flight time was 12 hours, not counting being at the airport THREE hours early and the layover in Narita. It took us a few hours to get all of our stuff and get checked by customs. It took 4 taxis to get 33 of us to the Annandale Lodge in Sydney. Two of our group got there the day before. It was another few hours before we could check in to our rooms. Lots of hungry people in our group so we went in search of FOOD. We discovered right off that food was EXPENSIVE, especially when you're on a budget and 35 people have to eat. We were told to budget $10 per person per meal. So not enough, especially when there was a plethora of Asian restaurants that were very generous in their use of MSG.

The next day we ventured to Circular Quay (pronounced KEY) to catch a ferry to Taronga Zoo. We only had a few hours there...not enough time to see and do it all because we wanted to go to Paddy's Market. It reminded me of Hafa Adai Exchange for some reason. The Market only opened Thursday through Sunday and closed at 5pm. When the market closed we went upstairs to Market City, which is a mall, to eat dinner. FYI...malls close at 7pm! And the tavern across the street from the lodge closed at midnight! Completely weird for us to have nothing to do after 7pm. But that was just the first two days! Little did we know that the days to come held early mornings and late nights and no time for afternoon naps. Believe me, it was a shock to my system.

I'll be posting more of my trip in the days to come! Trying to sort through my pictures to upload to photobucket and make some slide shows!

Here's slide show #1!

Friday, July 04, 2008

Six days....

In SIX days, I will be on my way to SYDNEY AUSTRALIA!!!!!!!! I'm pretty much packed. Just little things here and there that need to make their way into my $$$ and some snacks!

It's the 4th of July. In honor of America's Independence Day, we are eating white...."American" food. Take no offense. I'm as American as they come. But, around here, food our grandparents didn't grow up with is called "American". No rice. No kelaguen. No Chamorro BBQ. Hot dogs, turkey burgers (we are trying to be healthy), potato salad, baked beans and 1-2-3 Jell-O. Wonder how hungry the major rice eaters will be?!??! Poor Uncle Lloyd! Gotta go "make" the baked beans (read: open can and heat on stove).