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!

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