6.013 Beef & Bean Curry


18 (Sun) January 2015

Beef & Bean Curry


by me

in my apartment

-Ermita, Manila-


Pope Francis is in town.  The most densely populated city in the world, the most fanatically Catholic country in the world, Manila was bound to get crazy, so the government announced an ad hoc national holiday for the duration of the Holy Father’s stay, as well as a complete liquor ban at all restaurants and stores, from last Thursday through tomorrow Monday.  6 million people were expected to attend the high mass this afternoon at Rizal Park–which would’ve been a world record for a gathering of any kind, surpassing the previous mark of 5 million set in 1995 by Pope John Paul II’s mass also in Manila–but the rains kept many at home, leaving only about 3 million–only in Manila would 3,000,000 people be referred to as “only.”

After spending a few hours in the office today, I left for home at around 14:30 to watch the proceedings on TV, but I was caught in a sudden swell of people at an intersection and stuck there for a full 40 minutes, completely unable to budge. Never seen/experienced anything like it.  I could imagine, feeling the intense pressure of so many bodies, how people get crushed to death in stampedes.

If not for these buildings (where CAL used to live), located at a 2 o’clock angle of the view from my apartment, I’d have a direct if distant line of sight to the Quirino Grandstand, where the mass was conducted; the western edge of Rizal Park is visible above the red building, right of the blue/cream building.
At 18:35, after the mass had concluded, the Pope’s motorcade made its way down Roxas Boulevard, visible from my apartment; first time that I’ve simultaneously watched something on television that’s also happening directly in front of me. 
On the corner of Pedro Gil and Roxas, about 5,000 souls who’d been there since early this morning.
The only photograph that I will likely ever take of Pope Francis–the flash of yellow (plastic rain poncho) in the white pope-mobile (customized jeepney); the morotorcade whizzed by so fast that I felt kinda bad for all people on the street, who’d stood in the rain for 12 hours to witness but a split second of him.

The curry was from a packaged powder by National Foods Limited.

Whereas the instructions called for a cup of yoghurt, I added Greek yoghurt, which rendered the sauce too thick and unbearably tart. I just picked out the pieces of beef and beans, avoiding the curry as much as possible.  So much for divine inspiration.

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