Sunday, March 20, 2011

Fire In A Country With No Fire Hydrants

The hill outside my home is burning.  There are no evacuation warnings in Bhutan and one fire truck is parked outside my apartment.

I asked a local what we should do.  He said, “Wait until it gets closer and then go help.”

I asked my friend if his family owned the home next door and if they wanted me to go and help them hose it down.  The response was, “We don’t own it, and there are no hoses.”

Soot is leaking through the windows and covering my keyboard.

Local men are climbing into the hills to put it out.  Not quite the time or place for a female chillip just yet.

Others are watching.

Too bad Bhutan has no helicopters.

Mountains of forest, dry brush, howling Himalayan winds, and fire surround me.

The fire is about 100-200 yards away and every change in the wind’s direction makes me hold my breath and throw a few more things into a bag.

In California, you evacuate hours before this, to the sound of sirens outside your window.  In Bhutan, you lesson plan near a window, so you can see when it is time to go.

When other people leave, I will take it as my evacuation warning.  I hope fewer people will be hanging around if it gets to be 50 yards away.

I'll write again soon.  Tashi Delek!

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