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WYD08: Food and strangers

July 16, 2008
Thomas, Bonnie, Kris, Nora, Carol and AnnabelAt WYD, separation from your group is either an opportunity to make new friends or a dangerous precursor to getting lost, which in turn leads to things like hunger and death.
I know rationally that it's not so perilous, but I was still hesitant to leave my S+L colleagues and venture into the unknown. They were walking twelve blocks to the "Big Aussie BBQ" and I had work to do in the media centre. I would save time by staying behind to eat the pilgrim food.
Lunch and dinner are served in bags of six meals. So if you're alone as I was, you need to join another group. This proved much easier than expected, as pilgrims hollered for others to join them. "We're looking for one more!"
I was invited to eat with the "Antioch Community" youth group from the Sydney suburbs--not very exotic, to be sure, but they were warm and spirited.  I repeated the experiment come dinnertime and joined forces with two pilgrims from Orange County, California, plus three others from Perth, Australia. The Perth youth belonged to the massive contingent from Our Lady of the Mission parish. Not only did the church bring 150 participants, but they also fundraised on behalf of youth from India and East Timor.
When I've tried more of the local specialties I'll report on whether the WYD food is hit or miss. Thus far they've exceeded expectations, provided you understand the limitations of cooking Tikki Masala for 200,000.