As Tim and I were about to leave the Cathedral this evening, the building’s fire alarm was triggered. It is usually activated by less-than-reputable folks who smoke crack in the bathrooms, yet we didn’t see anyone exit the building from that direction. A grill at Franktuary once set off this fire alarm during the most holy day of the year, Good Friday, in the middle of the most somber church service known to church goers. The building was evacuated. We felt really, really bad.

Today, however, the fire alarm was not our fault.

Also not our fault was the altercation outside between the arriving firetruck from Greensburg Fire Department (Greensburg is far!) and the black, heavily tinted Mercedes van with Russian plates. On the sidewalk directly outside of Franktuary were mingling Tim and I with our bicycles, at least 10 Russians in casual dress, the Cathedral custodian, a priest, and 5 fully suited firefighters. The van driver was trying to navigate out of his parking spot past the firetruck, the firemen were trying to figure out why there wasn’t a fire, and the Russians were talking amongst themselves and listening to us say “Welcome to Pittsburgh! Welcome to Pittsburgh!” We waited in hopes of shooting a photo with the Russians, the firemen, the diplomat van, the firetruck, the priest, and ourselves, but sadly, the van disentangled itself from the chaos and parked 20 feet further up the street. On the sidewalk. Almost immediately, the firetruck roared away. The diplomat van then rocketed off the curb in reverse, backing down the one way street past the Oliver Garage entrance while one of the Russians directed traffic from the middle of the street, waving his arms until the diplomat van pulled into the entrance and disappeared underground.

Apparently the Oliver Garage, directly across the street from Franktuary, is parking headquarters for the Russians. No joke, a priest told me!

Follow all of our stories, loosely gathered as “G20 Sights”, at www.twitter.com/franktuary.