Sydney - Final Days

Trip Start Mar 17, 2005
Trip End Mar 13, 2006

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Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Easter in Australia takes place over four days. They have "Easter Friday", "Easter Saturday", "Easter Sunday" and "Easter Monday". All shops are closed and people are off work during this time. What is strange that they have this huge focus on the Easter holiday but from what we have heard from people here is that few Australian's go to church to celebrate Easter.

On this theme...we will tell you about our various "Easter" activities, although only a few of them would really have a focus on Christ's resurrection in our opinion.

*The Easter Show: this is a huge country fair that takes place at Olympic Park, where the 2000 Olympics were held. According to the paper, 100,000 people attended the day that we went, it was packed! Australians look like us, sound kinda like us but seem to like things a little different than us. We watched the Woodchoppers World Championship (see photo), pig races with a pig dive (bummed we missed a photo of him leaping), meat pies for lunch and were in awe of the Show Bags. They have hundreds of bags full of what we would call "junk" like coupons, samples, candies, magazines. There was a whole book about them onsite. And they cost money to buy...and everyone wants one! So, just to get in the spirit of Easter, we threw down $30 each and got a bag of samples and candy. Just kidding...

*Darling Harbour Hoopla Festival: we weren't quite sure what this had to do with Easter, but we did enjoy ourselves there. Saw someone juggling a chain saw & knife. There was this group of Zimbabwe gymnasts that did these amazing stunts like building a pyramid of stairs 50 feet off the ground and did a few hand stands on it.

On Easter Day we attended two services, which we described as complete opposites. In the morning we went to Arthur's church that he is the interim pastor at. The congregation was around 20 people, average age 85 or so. They were the cutest group of people singing with all their hearts as loud as they could and were the kindest people.

Later that night we went to Hillsong Church, which has a very vibrant and young congregation. They are the largest church in Australia, and we heard they are the largest church south of the Equator. They had eight services between two campuses. We went to what we thought was the smaller congregation (the satellite location) and were shocked when we entered hour before the service time to find only 20 empty seats and around 4,000 people there. And that was only one service! They had a women's conference last week that had 11,000 people at it and their family conference has 100,000 people that come. You get the picture, it is a pretty amazing place. They started off with their worship band and the place was rocking. That is really the best word to describe it, people were really into it. It was different to what we were used to but we really loved our 2 hour service that we got to "experience". Two bands that we love put on a free concert at the service: Delirious and Sonic Flood. We did some video of it if you can open it. It was a very memorable night and felt so filled up when we left and blessed to have been able to have seen that church firsthand.

Yesterday we headed off on a 10KM (6 mile) walk from Manly Beach outside of town on the coastline to The Spit. We concluded that it was the most diverse walk that we have ever been on: beach, neighborhoods, eucalyptus forest, bushland, rock formations, and more. It was the scenic highlight of our trip so far and really enjoyed our time together exploring this four hour walk. Lots of hills and beaches, we are both pretty tired from it today. At the end of the day, we chowed down on steaks at the Oaks Pub (thanks for the recommendation Amber!) after our all day workout.

Heading off to Manila tomorrow and saying good bye to Sydney and hello to Asia for the next 3 and a half months!
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