We arrived in Sydney on Sunday afternoon after a very long flight from Singapore. Everyone seemed very happy to get checked into our hotel and to stop moving. Our hotel is extremely convenient in terms of location, and amenities. Everyone split off and went in different directions to find dinner and begin to explore the city. It was Saint Patrick's Day so there were a fair number of events going on in the city.
This morning, Monday morning we completed the Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb. This is a bucket list item for many people in the world, and only a select few will ever get to experience this amazing accomplishment. The level of safety that is used for this activity is impressive to say the least. FOrtunately, the rain held off - well, for the climb anyway...
After about 3 and a half hours of climbing this humongous structure, the students were sent off on a scavenger hunt. The plan was for them to complete the scavenger hunt and we were going to meet up for dinner , grade their results, and distribute gifts. However we ran into a little glitch.
As we were leaving the hotel this morning, there was an alarm going off. As it turns out someone on one of the upper floors took their clothes out of the dryer and proceeded to hang their warm wet clothes on the sprinkler sensor and nozzle, which triggered the sprinkler system to go off. This resulted in flooding that floor and several others underneath it, as well as filling the bottom of the elevator shaft with water. That in turn burned out the entire elevator system. We discovered this while the students were on the scavenger hunt.
The coincidence of Prof. MacKinnon being on the 25th floor and being my competition for students for our May trips was not lost on some of the students. Many remain convinced that it was him that purposely set off the sprinklers so as to make Sydney look worse than our SouthEast Asia visit. I would like to think it isn't true, but I can't be sure… I just can't be sure… His clothes looked too fresh and he was not very upset that we have to move to our alternative location…
Around dinner time, we began scrambling to find out what to do because the hotel was ordered to evacuate the building due to health and safety concerns. Some students were roomed as high as the 29th floor. It turns out that finding accommodations for 18 people at the last minute is not as easy as it may seem! We were however able to find a replacement hotel which fit all of our needs, and it is a hotel that we have stayed at previously. Not as convenient as the other location, but we can make it work and it beats having to sleep in the park under a tree (although again, Prof. MacKinnon is rather “outdoorsy” as he says…).
At about 6 p.m. we met for dinner at the Pyrmont Bridge Hotel. Results of the scavenger hunt will have to wait until Wednesday because we did not want to buy gifts and have the students have to pack them and move them – so stay tuned for pictures form that activity.
All in all, it has been an experience.
Tomorrow we visit the production facility of Cochlear Hearing Implants , Employment Innovations/ Employment Hero (a workforce solutions organization). This company was founded and is owned by Ben Thompson, who graciously spends an hour with my groups on every one of my visits to Sydney. Ben has been nominated recently for several national entrepreneurship awards, as has Employment Innovations been nominated for several national awards as well. He's an amazing man and we are honored and so lucky to get to visit with him each year.
After our visit at Employment Innovations, we will be going on a dinner cruise. A nice change from the events of today . Stay tuned for more information and pictures as the week goes on!