Dandyism Incarnate

First Blackout of 2009

I have written many times before about blackouts. For example, there was the  blackout 2004. Then there was the blackout of 2005. There were also blackouts in 2006 and 2007 (which was otherwise a lean year for blackouts). And of course there was the blackout of 2008.

Today we had the first blackout of 2009 (if you don’t count Earth Hour). It struck at about 4.35pm while I was still at work. The groan of anguish when the power failed suggested that a few people had lost their buffers! After about 15 minutes, I decided to go home. When I exited the building I noticed that other buildings were also affected with all the nearby shops in darkness. I saw some tourists trapped in the foyer of a hotel, unable to get out because the door was electrically operated. I also heard sirens, so I decided to walk around to try to find the source of the problem. 

All the traffic lights were out, but the trains were still running.


I saw some emergengy vehicles, both stationary and speeding through the streets. However there was nothing spectacular. I later learned that the emergency vehicles were mainly responding to calls from people stuck in lifts.

After not finding the cause, I proceeded to the carpark. The exit gate was open and the pay machine was inoperative and many people were taking their cars without paying. However, I paid the dude in the little glass box. He told me I would have to walk down eight floors because the lifts were out. The walk down the stairs was OK as the stairwell had good emergency lighting. But when I emerged onto my level, it was quite dark and I was disoriented. It took me a while to find my car, and even longer to get the key in the door.  

After exiting the carpark I had to negotiate three busy intersections with blacked-out traffic lights, before getting onto the Harbour Bridge. After that it was a fairly normal trip home.

I later learned that the Harbour Tunnel and “Mr. ED” had been closed, which would have made the SHB a traffic nightmare soon after I crossed.

Overall it was a harrowing experience.

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