Sunday, October 25, 2009

One-Bridge Walk, Opera House Rainy Day, and SRO Mass

Quite a few events lined up for today. There's Breakfast on the Bridge as the opening act for Crave Sydney. There's the Seven Bridges Walk. The Sydney Opera House is having an open day today, and so is the Chinese Garden in Darling Harbour. And also the Danks Street Festival.

The wife and I took the train to Milsons Point. By then, Breakfast on the Bridge is finished, as we can see with event caps and bags on their way home. Too bad we missed out. From 190,000 applicants, only 6,000 people were selected to take part. The whole Bridge was closed to traffic, and 10,620 sq. m. of kikuyu turf laid out for the lucky few to have picnic on. As the Harbour Bridge is part of the Seven Bridges Walk, I thought I might have a chance to walk on the grass. No such luck. Workers were busy rolling up the turf, while we had to walk on the sidelines.

From The Rocks, we went straight to the Opera House to queue up for Open Day. There are three self-guided tours available, each covering a different section of the Opera House. Tour 1 covers the Concert Hall, the Opera Theatre, and Utzon Room. The wife wisely suggested we go for tour #2 as it covers the Opera Theatre scenery dock, backstage of the Drama Theatre, Administration areas, Rehearsal rooms and the Green Room. During the tour, we saw a couple of guys in full-body costume walking about, a lone guy playing a strange stringed instruments, and some ballerinas dancing to Swan Lake. Very interesting. With time to spare, we queued up again for tour #3, which covers the Drama Theatre (currently playing the God of Carnage), Playhouse, and The Studio where some gynmasts were practising.

Just as we finished our Opera House tour, this thunderstorm rolled in. I wonder how the Bridges Walk participants are doing. After lunch at home, we went to St. Andrew's Episcopal Church to attend the special Healing Mass. Supposed to start at 2pm, but we decided to get there early to get good seats. Good seats? We can't even get a decent parking spot. The whole street is packed! We had to drive a few hundred meters further to find a spot. By the time we got to the church, the massive hall is full. Even the front lot has a queue 10 or so lines deep. Ah, we truly are in desperate times. Father Fernando Suarez (a.k.a. the Healing Priest) arrived promptly at 2pm and Mass started. Father Suarez told us how happy and nervous every time he sees a packed church. Just the other day, he was in Melbourne. There's this guy who had been blind for 20 years. A few days later, he received a call from the man's daughter, saying that after he prayed over him, the man can now see again. Wow. Then, there's this woman who talked too much (according to the husband) and got tongue cancer. The doctors had to cut a portion of the tongue off, so the woman can't talk and can't taste anymore. During a healing mass, the husband prayed that his wife be healed. And guess what? The woman's tongue grew back, and she can speak again. In the words of the Pussycat Dolls, be careful what you wish for 'cos you just might get it (hey!) you just might get it (hey!) you just might get it (HEY!)

Mass finished around 3pm, and the healing started. The plan is for Father Suarez to pray over the guys inside the church first. They evacuate the place, then the guys outside the church (us) can go in. After 2.5 hours of shuffling about, we got into the church. And guess what? Another super-long queue, but at least we had seats. My only complaint is that I can't sit in peace. Every few seconds we had to get up, and shift a few seats forward. After about an hour we got to the head of the queue. So what you have is a row of around 10 people lined up in front of the altar. Father Suarez would talk to them and pray over them, touching their necks or foreheads. After the priest releases his touch, the person is drained of energy and slumps back. They are are then supported by volunteers standing behind them, and laid on the floor to recover. Given that I've standing for hours, I won't be surprised if my knees gave way, too. Didn't happen though. Father asked my wife what she wishes for, and he asked me if I'm Chinese. Then it's all over. Went to Westpoint Blacktown for dinner at a Vietname/Filipino restaurant.