Thursday, September 07, 2006

My First CA Wildfire

My favorite part of the drive on I-5 North is going by Pyramid Lake. Unfortunately, on my drive earlier this week I saw that a wildfire had broken out in the forest surrounding the lake. Check it out:

Shortly after taking this photo I came around to the back side of the mountain that was completely engulfed with wildfire and smoke. I counted 4 helicopters circling the skies and saw numerous fire trucks en route to the blaze.

One odd thing I noticed is that they have a sign up when you enter the forest saying "Chance of wildfire is "HIGH" today". Ya think?!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Hawaiian Hostels & Broken Showers

One of the great perks of my job is that I get paid to go to Hawaii. That's right - they PAY ME to go to one of the most beautiful places on earth and I love it. The following story is something that could only happen to me ... enjoy.

This past fall I went to Hawaii for work but extended my stay for a few days of vacation. Unwilling to pay $200 a night for a hotel; I decided to check into the local hostel. For the first night I was booked in the dorms. It looks just like it sounds, one room with 2 bunk beds and a bathroom in it. There were three other people already checked into the room but they weren't there so I took this as an opportunity to take a nice, hot shower. It had been a long day and I was exhausted, sunburned and I smelled like sunscreen.

The shower looked a bit sketchy but I wasn't worried because, after all, what could happen? So I jumped in wearing nothing but my flip flops and cranked on the hot water. I waited for a moment but it wasn't hot so I give it another turn. Still cold. I look at it a bit closer and think that maybe the pipe coming from the wall is spinning so I decided to hold that steady and turn the nozzle one last time. Big mistake...

The nozzle (including the pipe that I was holding) comes flying out of the wall and a constant jet stream of water is shooting out of the wall where the nozzle once was. Now, when I say a "jet stream" I am not kidding. Water is shooting out so hard that it is hitting the back wall of the shower! My first reaction was just to laugh because seriously, who else would this happen to!?

So after I died laughing, I decided that I should try to fix this thing. My first approach was to shove the pipe and nozzle back into the wall but of course that didn't work. I only managed to spray water everywhere. Next, I decided to shut off water to the toilet and sink - after all maye I would get lucky and they are somehow connected to the shower. No such luck. When all plans failed I decided to go for help.

I threw on my clothes and frantically bust out of the bathroom only to run into my new roommates. Mind you, I am seeing/meeting them for the first time ever. They happened to be a French girl (bi-lingual) and two French Canadian guys (who spoke zero English). I quickly tried to explain to her that the shower is broken and not to go in the bathroom. She, in turn, is trying to translate to the guys and it suddenly becomes a big fat lost in translation mess. Could this get any worse?

The lady working the counter (a college student from England) said she would come help me. Thinking that it was just a drip from the faucet she opened the door to the bathroom and proceeded to die laughing. She said "there is no way in Hell that i can fix this" and left to get some "real" help. The "real help" ended up being another college kid - who was doubling as the maintenance guy for the week while the real manager was on another island.

Long story short, the kid turned off so many water pipes that it messed up water pressure to the hostel. In all, 15 people came to my aid but none could fix the broken shower nor turn off the water so they ended up calling a real plumber who shut off the water supply to the entire hostel for the next 2 hours.

At the time, I was so embarrassed but I must admit that it was quite the ice breaker. We all ended up sitting around drinking beer and exchanging embarrassing stories for the rest of the night.

Ahh, the memories....