TITLE: Evacuate The Building!
IN SHORT: You have to shop in Melbourne, I’m fairly sure it’s stipulated in the terms and conditions of all good airlines. Mum and I got a cab out to Port Melbourne after completing this requirement, our cab drivers name was Harry. Harry was from India and asked us more questions on the journey than we were required to answer in our national census. We pulled up out front of The London Hotel and bid him farewell, temporarily since he’d decided he would be taking us to the airport the next day.
We were in Port Melbourne to join the final bold line of this stage. Directly across the road from this Hotel is Station Pier and the freight terminal operated by the Spirit of Tasmania. I’d been there before with Dad as a child and had a meal or two at The London Hotel prior to setting sail. I guess it was effectively his local back then. This was 20 years ago so it had changed considerably inside but the exterior was still the same – to be somewhere we had been together brought back plenty of memories.
Later we took a tram back to the CBD. The intention was to spend a couple of hours relaxing at the apartment before going out to dinner. That plan was interrupted by sirens and what I thought was the distant sound of an alarm going off. Not so distant as it happens. A robotic voice filled the room to deliver this repetitive announcement; ‘wooop wooop wooop wooop – evacuate the building’. I was headed out the door pulling my shoes on and with Mum hot on my heels we made for the stairs.
Once the firemen had ascertained that it was the steam from a faulty fire hose in the basement car park that had set off the fire alarm we were given the all clear to return.
That night we met friends in Chinatown for dinner. The meal was brilliant, we couldn’t fault the food but the service was frantic! I’m positive the waitress said ‘chow down’ when she brought out our appetizers. She must’ve known that we were to spend the rest of the evening guarding our plates against the ‘efficiency’ of the other waiter. He shuffled around the room swiftly seizing plates as patrons lifted a last fork full to their mouths.
TIP: Belt up! The taxi driver who collected us in Chinatown refused to move off until we all had our seat belts on and rightly so. Except that he himself was the cause of the flashing red seat belt sign!
TRACK: Spiritus – Lisa Mitchell