The Epic Trek to the End

This was originally published on my old blog, Rebel Catholic that recorded my adventures doing a nun run in 2013. I’m republishing it here in honour of the third anniversary since I returned home and the beginning of life in the married vocation I am called to. 

Part 12: The Epic Trek to the End

Originally Published: Tuesday August 6th, 2013

We arose Saturday morning and headed out. We had a few incidents of Sarah loosing (and then finding thankfully) her money belt and then poor Sharnee losing her camera. We had a 9 km walk ahead of us and then finding a spot on the beach.

So we set out. The way was specially blocked off to allow the millions that were pilgrimaging to Copacabana beach. The original site was apparently under a foot of mud and wasn’t ready yet so it was changed at the last minute to the beach. So off we go!

We walk about 2 km and we arrive to the place where we are supposed to pick up our meal pack for the vigil. Well, an hour and a half later of going nowhere in the queue thanks to Kathryn and Sarah, we decide to stuff it and go on. The priests ended up splitting up from us and we continued. We had a makeshift flag tied to Natty’s umbrella.
WYDSugarloafWalk.jpg

As a result, we were extremely popular! Even the coppers demanded a photo! And you don’t say now to two blokes in fatigues packing two pretty solid hand guns.

It was pretty warm and walking that slowly with about a million people was more tiring than the pace yesterday! But thank goodness we were going that slowly, because this made me smile.

WYDCorCovadoWalk.jpg

This is what I love about Rio de Janeiro. You might be in the midst of all these tall buildings and then you round a corner at just the right angle and you look up and there is Jesus. He stands ever watchful and he was watching the pilgrims pouring out in their millions to Mass.
So Then we got to Botafogo. Then we stopped because we needed  a bathroom break. Well that took about 2 hours because of the lines. My goodness! Women take bloody forever in bathrooms! I also got churros from a street vendor and they were excellent! We then pushed on and finally arrived at Copa at around 6:30 in the evening. It was packed! Poor Sharnee lost her phone in the crush and I mean it was very serious crush. People had an annoying and dead dangerous habit of forming chains with their group which cause all sorts of issues when you have 3 or 4 of them with about a hundred people in each pushing their way through a crowd! We walked a way down the beach and staked out our little patch and it was wonderful! Look how happy we were!
WYDCopacabanaVigil.jpg

Then, I kid you not 5 minutes later about 1000 military police surge out down to the water in a line to hold back about 300 anti-government protestors right behind us! Most of them were fine, dancing around and chanting slogans and waving placards which was fine, but there were two or three guys with bandanas covering their faces and were looking to pick a fight. We stayed for about 10 minutes before it started to get a bit hairy and we moved. We ended up on the main road for about an hour being unable to go south because the military police had blocked off a route for the protest. We also got separated with Sarah Natty, Jamie, Ron and Stephie managing to get over to the other side of the protest buffer zone. So we just sat and waited. We had Jazz from Paramatta with us and she was really anxious to get to her group, so Kathryn, Mel and Nathan tracked them down and took her back.

The Protest then moved off the beach and marched down around the corner peacefully. Nobody got violent, because quite frankly, I was worried about the coppers getting over zealous. We then finally got to the others who staked out a little patch of sand between some Nicaraguans and Brazilians. Oh joy of joys! That was amazing! Doug, Sarah and I then settled down in one of the little bars on the beach side for some dinner and a beer. Or three. We were about a km away from the last screen so we didn’t see much, it was just awesome to be there and even more awesome after a cold beer and some food.

Carlos and Gabs joined us later with pisco and pepsi. Pisco is the equivalent of battery acid. It is gross. We were also treated to an amazing low, golden harvest moon and an awesome navy ship sitting about 800 m off shore.

I didn’t get to sleep until very, very late, after throwing up from what turned out to be low electrolyte levels.

I woke up to this awesome site.

WYDCopacabanaMass.jpg
It was then time to pack up and we moved forward towards the closest screen and ended up between some Brazillians and a Polish group and a good view of the screen. Then it was radio’s out and listening in. It was a good mass, a good mix of more modern stuff and the traditional stuff.
The Pope gave an awesome homily on going against the tide and rebelling against the world.
Right at the consecration, I felt sick again. I didn’t throw up, which was good and then I got some electrolytes finally and felt much better.
It was then all over. Most of us were pretty stuffed and didn’t fancy braving the surge, so most of us hung out on the beach and napped for a bit. Then we slowly made our way home.
I was supposed to track down the Baileys and go to dinner with everyone at the hotel. But I ended up passing out on my bed after deciding to lie down for five minutes whilst the shower queue died down. I slept for twelve hours. That is it. WYD is all over. Finished… It was a bit sad but I was too tired to care.
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