21 July 2008

Sore Feet, Light Hearts - The End

The key to not getting lost or losing members of the group it have some easily identifiable clothing. These pilgrims from Nottingham Diocese in England had their Robin Hood hats. We had the orange jackets and caps. One policeman saw the boys' caps and commented, "You won't get lost with those hats!" 
"Exactly!" we replied.
Escaping from Randwick was a very slow affair. 500,000 people all were trying to go the same way at the same time makes for crowded conditions. It was a matter of following the crowd and stopping often. At one stop Rose REALLY had to go. But we were in a fenced off part with no exits. We looked at a policewoman and asked, "Is there anywhere she can go to the toilet?" She looked apologetic and said "We have been holding on too!" One of the policemen overheard and stepped up, noticing Rose holding on to her bottom and jiggling. "If you're really desperate, you can go over there behind the tent for discreteness."
"Yes please!" Lana answered and the policemen let Lana and Rose out a gap in the fence. Phew, disaster averted.
When Lana went to get back in and asked to get trough the fence, the policemen was joking around, "No, No! Don't let them back in!" 
"That's Ok", Lana replied, "There's less people this side." Smiling, they let Lana return to our side of the fence.
The police were really good. Lana asked how the crowd had been behaving and a policewoman said the crowd was really good, no troubles. Unlike soccer or football crowds. One of the volunteers told us they had often asked the police if any of the pilgrims had caused trouble and the consistent reply was "No trouble at all." They added that normal crime was also less than usual.
This policeman was standing on the median strip. He noticed Rose and Clare approaching him as the children concentrated on balancing on the median strip - as children do. He motioned to his fellow policeman and both stepped off to let Clare and Rose pass, then both stepped back up.
We were walking along a more open strip of road with parks on either side which had toilets! We had a quick stop for all those that had to do their duty. James took the opportunity to rest.
Rather than join the large crowds and try to get on the trains now, we had a meal at the Oz-Turk restaurant in George Street, Sydney. This is a 24 hour eating place with inexpensive, tasty food. I went here often when I was working a lot in the city. We had an enjoyable meal, off our feet, and were able to allow the crowds to gradually diminish. 
While we were seated we noticed a pilgrim approach the counter and say, "I had a meal here yesterday, but I missed out on paying. I had the $10 meal."
It was worth being there to note the surprise on the employee's face as he accepted the money and said a dazed "Thanks".
We got back on our feet with a few groans, reached the station and once more the train was there as we were and we departed on time. "Hurry, Lana. The train is here!" Lana's look was priceless as she struggled up those stairs carrying Martin.

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