This morning at 4:42AM, I awoke to sirens blaring, strobe lights flashing, and the direction from my husband, "Let's get out--Let's go!"
The hotel fire alarm had been ... detonated, and I was like a hamster trapped in a plastic ball, scurrying like mad but really going nowhere because it took a couple of seconds to remember where in the world I was.
Then I said, "Where's Kristin?!" over the sensory torture because even in the bright blinking lights, I couldn't see her. So I turned again to pull her out of bed, when
our foreheads conked.
We scrambled outside the hotel, where I realized that I was in a long (to the knees) striped nightshirt instead of what I ALWAYS wear to sleep in in hotels because I'm afraid I'll have to go out in the event of a fire and people will see me--exercise pants and a t-shirt.
Except this ONE time in my entire life, of course.
So Jorge ran back in the room (we had a first floor room which had a door to the outside) and brought back my shorts, purse, and Kristin's glasses because the poor thing can't see worth squat on her own.
We waited for a while and were told it was a false alarm. Somehow the phone system in the hotel is connected to the alarm system, and when the phones shorted out, the alarm went off. I'm just glad the sprinklers didn't go off, too. Then I would've been a wet hamster in horizontal stripes.
So we all reentered our rooms and tried to go back to sleep. That is when I realized that my head, where I beat it against Kristin's head like laundry on a river rock, was throbbing.
I went back to sleep for about an hour, and then it was no use to keep trying.
Thus began our day. It's a bummer to realize you've probably had the most exciting event of your day by 4:45AM.
But later we went on a hike in Smoky Mountain National Park to see Laurel Falls and the thing that everyone on the trail but me wants to see: bears.
Yes, I am afraid of bears. And alligators. I have said more than once, "I wish they were dead." Meaning bears and alligators.
Sorry, nature lovers.
Where was I. Oh yes, I wish they were dead.
So, of course, immediately, when we approached the beginning of the trail, a family randomly volunteered to ME, not Jorge or Kristin, "There are lots of bears out there today. We saw triplets and twins and ...."
I stopped listening because I started composing a blog post in my head: "Oh yes, it's another 'I Know You Think I Make This Stuff Up' moment."
But I am not making this up; they pinpointed me to report all of their sightings to in detail.
So I rehearsed again with Jorge what to do if a bear jumps out in front of you on a path and yells, "Turf Warrrr!"
All along the trek, I watched every peripheral movement and listened for rustling, crackling branches.
But I needn't have because three times, we came up on a group of people looking up into the hills, pointing, and telling us we just missed the bears.
I did see a doe and nursing fawn, which is more my speed.
By the end of the hike, I can't believe this, but I was actually a little disappointed that we didn't see the bears. I mean, it's quite a let down to be on five-alarm high alert for just a doe, fawn and tiny little lizard.
But I did end up getting a picture of A bear, which I will post upon my return home.
Home--where if fire alarms go off, it's for a good reason, like I have set it at night and then forgot to turn it off when I open the door for Zoe one last time.
Have you ever had an alarm go off in a hotel or similar situation before?