Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The problem with World Youth Day

...is, well, the youth. Who exactly thought that getting a few hundred thousand teenagers together was a good idea? I had to make my way through gangs of marauding pilgrims today to drop something off to a client at the north end of the city. Buses needed to divert from the closed George St to Elizabeth St. Along with every other vehicle in the city. Oh yeah, and all the pilgrim gangs. I got to listen to them singing songs worthy of the Rugby World Cup crowds - at 11am, along with them thumping the side of the bus and completely ignoring the traffic lights (just to add to the flow of the restricted traffic).

Since I couldn't even work out where to catch the return bus, and the first trip had taken so long, I decided to walk back to the Powerhouse. Perhaps I should have read something about where the action was. There were so many people at Hyde Park, it didn't occur to me that there would be a whole lot more of 'em at Darling Harbour. Singing "Aussie Aussie Aussie, Oi Oi Oi" among other things. All with flags draped over them. Many, many being inconsiderate and annoying. Just like any other group of teenagers.

The other thing that really came home to me is that all these pilgrims are kids - in other words, they have no cash. They are not spending any money here. The state government has stumped up all the cash for this, and it seems improbable that much is going to be put back into the economy. There was nobody in the shops I walked past. For goodness sakes, the Lindt Cafe was EMPTY! Despite them giving away Lindt balls (sadly not to me). When I consider the annual budget of the Catholic Church compared with that of the NSW government, it just seems ludicrous that we are paying for it. I want my money back!

On the bright side, if one wants to rid oneself of pilgrim hordes, there is nothing quite so effective as a building with SCIENCE displayed in large friendly letters. The Powerhouse Museum was divinely devoid of pilgrims. Lots of primary school kids, but trust me, they looked seriously good after my stroll.


  1. What´s really sad, is over here on the other side of the world, I´m sure I have seen enough Aussies who seem to think it is World Youth Day every day..... They graduate from pilgrims into backpackers. If you are ever in Prague, the city of stunning architecture and history, on every corner you see them with bottles of absinthe, empty. There is no way they would let free chocolate go astray. The Lindt factory tour was 80% Aussie backpackers with the pockets, backpacks and socks full of the free chocolate... Aussie Aussie Aussie, oioioi!!!!!! They make sure we hear it loud.

  2. Hmmm, yes, ambassadors for Australia. The goal is to be able to ask for beer in as many different languages as possible. You do have a copy of Paul Kelly's "Every F*cking City" don't you? :)

    Of course, I might well be with the Aussie backpackers at the Lindt factory... But never, ever joining in the Aussie Aussie Aussie chant...