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UER Forum > Journal Index > Citizen's blundering pseudo-UE journal > 6/7/04 - First Trip: Where to Go? (Viewed 1894 times)
6/7/04 - First Trip: Where to Go?
entry by Citizen 
7/13/2004 1:54 AM

[No new content, sorry, but the last entry was so long and boring, that I decided to go back and cut it into two slightly more managable pieces.]

Having thus far written two entries chock full useless crap (and wasn't it just such a thrilling read?) I guess I should move on to the stated subject matter of this journal, being urban exploration. In between everthing else, I've been trying to think of where I should go for my first trip.
I pretty much ruled out the idea of doing a major abandonment or drain from the outset. Both places require at least two people for safety reasons, and given the environmental hazards involved would be a poor choice for the first-time explorer. The Cave Clan actually runs 'introductory tours' of the drains at sporadic intervals, but I suspect going along, letting someone else do all the work, then jumping back here to triumphantly report my achievement and demand due respect as one of the UE uber-elite probably isn't going to cut it with some people. That said, I do plan on going along to one of these things, but it's probably a bit further off into the future.
Whenever I think about exploring, in the context of actually getting off my arse and doing it myself, my thoughts always drift over to how much fun it would be to visit a construction site. Not some lame suburban housing development in the slab and plywood stages, mind you, but something worthy, like one of the skyscrapers slowly taking shape in this city's centre. I can trace the origin of this idea back to a specific construction site here in Melbourne, right next to where I used to work. My last job was at a firm whose offices sprawled along several of the fifty or so floors of a multi-leased office tower. Next door used to be a car park, but by the end of my employment, work was begun there on a twin to the existing tower.
What a perfect target. Visiting it would be like stepping back into my workplace's past. I could roam the floors at will, without the irritation of those damn keycards, admire all the big, bright yellow heavy machinery and look at the embryonic forms of everything I passed by every day of the last few years and never gave a thought to. I could peer through massive holes in each of the floors and realise that these will one day be the elevator shafts and see the bleak concrete chambers that will one day be bathrooms and tearooms. I could stand on the second-floor mezzanine and gaze upon the huge, grey, concrete and steel cathedral that will become a sculpted, warm and welcoming lobby. I'd photograph everything, then go back to the existing building and take a second set of photos of from the exact same locations. Like a set of before and after shots, I could contrast the bare bones with the plastered, tastefully painted and pot-planted interior of the finished building - showing a desolate cell in one shot, and in the next the airy, modern office that Mark from accounting had to spend ten years kissing arse and crawling up the corporate ladder to earn. I'd write all sorts of lucious prose on the place, mentioning the archaeological site that was excavated for the last time before being scooped out to make way for the basement levels. Given that said archaeological site consisted of the remains of Melbourne's red-light district, circa the nineteenth century, it'd make for some interesting reading. All of this I would then shovel into a website somewhere, before taking my bows and basking in the acclaim, nay, adulation, my bold deeds would bring. Maybe.
Going to such a construction site would also be safer, in my opinion, than the drains or abandoned buildings, and within the reach of the lone explorer. At the end of the day, whatever it will eventually become, a construction site is currently the living and breathing workplace of human beings. Human beings who have a union and government OH&S types to jump up and down and cause a terrible fuss should one of them, say, fall thirty floors down an unprotected elevator shaft. In contrast, a drain is really only ever meant to be seen by rainwater, along with the odd derelict supermarket trolley (shopping cart). That abandoned factory down the road was once someone's workplace, but those days are gone, and the building will never again play host to an (authorised) person. Ever. And so it sits there, its ruptured insulation leaking a river of asbestos onto crumbling floorboards, because nobody cares - no one has to care. As far as the owners are concerned, nobody will ever set foot inside it again. It's merely waiting to die - gradually biodegrading as it marks off the days and months until the land on which it stands rises sufficiently in value to justify paying a demolition crew to clear the way for yet another block of crappy townhouses.
That's not to say there aren't dangers. Despite all the theoretical safeguards and meaningless platitudes from politicians, the building industry continues to record a steady trickle of employee deaths and injury. Nonetheless, so long as you kept your wits about you and stayed within the lines, I'm sure the risk would be minimal. (I'm sure many will argue the same for the drains and abandonments, but I'd rather not push things too far the first time around.)
The best aspect, other than the virtual guarantee of seeing something worthy during your trip, is reliable vacancy. The workers have set hours and they're hardly there when they're supposed to be. Show up in the evenings or weekend, dress appropriately, and you can roam all over the place at will and completely unchallenged. If the building has yet to receive its glass cladding or doors, then only a portable fence will be there to resist you, and no passing pedestrian would think it too untoward if they saw someone with the full hardhat and safety vest treatment clambering over. Of course, pick your times properly, and you could reduce the chances of being spotted in the first place to a very agreeable number.
The reason I'm not walking out the door right now to check out some of these urban wonderlands is money. Before setting out I'd need some navy blue clothes, safety vest, hard hat, and maybe a better torch. A set of work boots wouldn't hurt either. All up, I'd probably end up on the bad side of AU$200, which I can't really justify shelling out on a hobby until I have an income, which brings me back to them job interviews...

One tantalising prospect is doing a live infiltration of an office tower. It would be, after all, semi-familiar turf, and, physically at least, sites don't come any safer. The (live) security presence, and electronic inconveniences like alarms and cameras are another matter, but it'd be a cheap thrill to stand in one of the mechanical floors while above and below you hundreds of people obliviously go about their daily lives. All the equipment you need (a business shirt, trousers, maybe a small torch and some sort of credibility prop) is already sitting in my cupboards, making for a refreshingly cheap date.
The best prospect for a first infiltration of this type, I think, would be the blandest multi-leased building you could find. I always imagine buildings occupied by a single company as being more insular and secure than one that's shared by many, but I guess the reverse may well be true instead. Bland would be good simply because if you did end up getting caught or doing something so you could never return, it wouldn't be that great a loss. In terms of size, I'd want at least 30 floors, preferably 40 or more. Not because smaller buildings aren't as interesting or anything, but being big it's unlikely anyone there will be totally familiar with it, and it also spells greater transit times between and around floors, which may just delay any response should that "WARNING: Door Alarmed" sign turn out not to be lying after all.
The big problem is that you can really only go when these places are open and full of people to both mask your presence, and obligingly open those cardkey-controlled doors for you. That means going during business hours weekdays, which is precisely the time most explorers have to be at work themselves. I feel like I'm wasting a lifetime opportunity or something since I'm unemployed right now, but really my chance has already come and gone. From now on, my weekdays will be spent visiting recruitment agencies, waiting by the phone to get interview times, going to the damn interviews themselves and then, eventually, actually working at my new job. I should have taken advantage of all that wonderful free time when I had it. (idiot). On the other hand, I am applying through employment agencies, as I want a temporary position, and from everything I've heard, those places have enough trouble trying to find their own arses with a torch, let alone jobs for their clients. So I might just have more free weekdays in future than I originally anticipated.

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Re: 6/7/04 - First Trip: Where to Go?
< Reply # 1 on 3/23/2007 12:06 PM >
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Posted on Forum: UER Forum
you dont need shit to do your first exploration, a 5 dollar torch and a pair of crappy shoes you dont mind getting wet are all you need. $200 isnt right, think $10 if you wanna splurge. and im from melbourne too sso i know my business.

UER Forum > Journal Index > Citizen's blundering pseudo-UE journal > 6/7/04 - First Trip: Where to Go? (Viewed 1894 times)

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