Wednesday 23 October 2019

No go Orego(n)

Arriving, as ever, too early for my event in the city yesterday, I did at least have a novelty way of filling in my time: gawping at a huge fire. It seems a - presumably careless - workman with a blowtorch set alight the bitumen and straw roof insulation of the $700 million SkyCity Convention Centre that's been being built for ages now, and was meant to be the venue for, amongst other things, the APEC summit in 2021. That now seems unlikely since the blaze has currently been raging unchecked for 24 hours despite the best efforts of the fire service, who still haven't been able get it under control. Bit of a Towering Inferno scenario, it seems, not helped by winds gusting up to 50km/h, though there are 100 firefighters doing their best.

I couldn't get very close, of course, especially since, with unprecedented common sense, I stayed carefully upwind of the smoke (turns out it's pretty nasty), but could still see clouds of it billowing up into the sky, and gushing waterfalls from the roof of the building next door. It must have been deeply frustrating for TVNZ, who have had to evacuate their nearby building; and for all those drivers trying to get home in the evening rush hour.

And then I went off to my event, remembering the only other major conflagration I've seen, which happened on my first night in Copenhagen back in 1980. Going to bed pleased with having seen a Great Dane in the street (on this same trip I'd not been able to tick off a Siamese cat in Thailand, nor a Burmese in Burma), I was woken in the night by an enormous explosion. Rushing to the window, which fortunately faced in the right direction, I saw bright orange flames leaping up into the air from a building not far away across the city, and heard the sirens from engines converging on the fire. Even minutes later, debris was still dropping from the sky.

At breakfast next morning, we found that the ground-floor windows of the hotel, and surrounding buildings, had been blown in - and that the explosion had happened at a soya bean processing factory. Dramatic stuff. It also made me come to terms with post-bean consumption farting, subsequently.

The event was a Travel Oregon promotion, theme 'Oregon Slightly Exaggerated' with an early Halloween overlay (no, of course I didn't dress up (few did) - though as a token effort I wore an orange cardigan with my black trousers). I haven't been to Oregon, but would like to go. Its quirky image. especially for Portland, has been strongly promoted here and has certainly seen results, with a big surge in visits from this part of the world. But I didn't win a free trip in the business card lucky draw, so don't hold your breath.

1 comment:

the queen said...

Friend #2’s father was going to move to Portland Oregon purely for the quirky factor. Also, I would run the other direction if I ever saw a fire.


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