Going out with a bang.....

Trip Start Sep 05, 2009
Trip End Sep 14, 2009

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Where I stayed
The hotel in Cremorne with the smoke coming from the balcony on the 6th floor.

Flag of Australia  , New South Wales,
Sunday, September 13, 2009

...well, more like a burn or even more like a burning. I'll get to that later. But first I'll catch up with Saturday. We got up and out Saturday morning and took the usual bus route to the Wynyard station and caught the train to Liverpool. On Thursday when we went to the BBQ, this was a reasonably smooth 45 minute ride. But on this day, the transportation department was doing some maintenance on the rails over the weekend. This meant our train would let us off at Liscombe (about half way) and buses took us the rest of the way. Our commute as twice as long as it should have been. Fortunately we arrived just before Drew competed in his first event. Of course Drew kicked butt (not literally, he wasn't competing in those kind of events) in 2 more events. After that, we took the long bus/train combination home. This time hot and crowded. Neither the bus nor the train had AC. Also the temps were a lot higher than the prior days of our stay. I only saw the weather reports on TV in Celsius but I believe they were in the 85 to 90 range for the weekend.

Today, we went back to downtown Sydney for the last time. Walked around The Rocks and then had lunch at an outdoor cafe restaurant at Circular Quay that faced the bridge and the opera house. Even though it was pretty expensive (well actually everything on that menu was ridiculous), I could'nt resist the kangaroo and crocodile fillets combination. Yummy!

After lunch, we walked through the Australia Museum and then made our way to the Royal Botanical Gardens. After asking around, we made our way to a group of trees. If you look up into the branches, you see what looks like maybe some weird shaped fruit or cones. If you look even closer, you will see one occasionally move and sometimes even open one or both wings. They're bats! Big ones! And hanging all over these trees upside-down. The time was a little after five and we were waiting for the entire bunch to take off since it was supposed to be a spectacular sight to see. But unfortunately around 5:45, the security or rangers or whatever rode through and announced that the park would be closing soon. So we gave up on the bats and headed out since it was a bit of walk to get to the exit. After that we took our final bus ride back to Cremorne. Next time that we go back to "The City" will be in a cab to the airport to start the flying marathon in the reverse order of how we got here.

Ok, now the much anticipated part about the burning. After having dinner in one of the Chinese hole in the wall type places across the street from the hotel (the food's really good), we go back to the hotel to get everything together and start packing. Mom, decides to cook some popcorn in the microwave. We were talking about whether we wanted to keep some brochures and maps (or something like that) and she notices the popcorn is burned. It's smoking as it comes out of the microwave. I open the door to the balcony but can't find the stove fan. Mom dumps the popcorn into a bowl still smoking and hands it to me to put out on the balcony. Apparently it was too little too late. First we hear a bell ringing non-stop. It sounded like it was about a block away. About 60 seconds later, the loud smoke alarm in our room goes off and doesn't' stop . It gives me much pleasure to be able to type that the room does not have sprinklers. Guess what the next sound was about 2 minutes later. That's right. Sirens! The smoldering popcorn was worthy of 2 trucks pulling up to the hotel front door. 2 nice firemen came in and first found the stove fan and turned it on. After that the alarms turned off. I don't know if it was because the fan was on now or someone turned the alarms off. What does my mother do next other than thanking the nice firemen? She asks to take a picture of them (yes, I'll go ahead and upload it).

Somewhere during all the popcorn burning, smoke filling the room, alarms sounding, firemen arriving and Kodak moments, Mom read something posted in the kitchen that said it was a $318.00 fine if the fire dept. is called for a false alarm. They didn't write us up or say anything about it. So hopefully they let us off the hook. Or they could possibly fine the hotel and we could have a nice surprise on our final bill. What gets me is as soon as the firemen left, Mom stuck another popcorn packet in the microwave. She was determined to have some popcorn even if it took calling the Australian National Guard (if there is such a thing). I sweated every second of those 3 long minutes.

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