Thursday, October 18, 2007

Fogo means fire!

I was a little concerned that I didn't have anything exciting to write about today. Well, that all changed at about 6:15 tonight!!! I was watching International CNN and seeing the story about the explosion in Pakistan today. I was expecting Eric home at anytime, but I was little on edge because he decided to pick up a rental car today on his way home and stop using the taxi service. (I probably haven't mentioned it yet, but they drive absolutely crazy here! A four lane road will be 6 cars wide with buses and motorcycles zipping in and out of the traffic . . . I wasn't real excited about Eric driving home alone - especially since he doesn't have a cell phone yet!)
Anyway, so the phone rings and a woman on the other end is speaking Portuguese some kinda fast and it sounded rather urgent!!! I couldn't make out a single word and so I let her know I speak English . . . the line went silent and then another female voice comes on the line and very calmly says "Um, Ms. Emily?" "Yes," I replied. "We need you to please leave your room and evacuate the building immediately. The 18th floor of the hotel is currently on fire." I grabbed my room key and purse and opened the door. The hall was thick with smoke and so I rushed to find the stairs. The stairwell had even more smoke in it, but I made my way down and got outside. I took a look up and huge clouds of black smoke and the occasional flame were billowing out of the top floor windows!!! Now keep in mind that no alarms were sounding or sprinklers spraying water (both are apparently very uncommon here!) A fire truck was parked at the front door and paramedics and police were rolling out caution tape to keep back the many curious bystanders. At that moment, I was really wishing I had grabbed my camera! "Oh, what great blog material this would be," I thought to myself.
It didn't look like anything was going to change anytime soon, so I grabbed a cerveja and stood back to watch the action. I kept an eye out for Eric, since he should be home at anytime! Well, they got the fire all put out and the fire trucks left about an hour and a half later, they began letting people back inside a very smoky hotel lobby, and I was still trying to find my husband! I came up to the room to see if he had snuck in past me, but he had not. So, I went back downstairs to get away from the smoke and waited outside hoping to see Eric. About 30 minutes later, he comes rolling up in the rental car - long after I expected him! Apparently, while I was watching the top floor of the hotel burning, he was lost, and then he hit really bad traffic. I suggested the taxi service for another week. He is excited about driving his car. I am going to insist on a cell phone.
So, what do you know!?! I had something to blog about after all! I think every news service in the city was here today, so I'm hoping to find a picture to post tomorrow. Meanwhile, maybe I'll go buy a smoke alarm and plug it in the hallway beside my door. I'm not so sure about this no alarm thing . . .
On another note, it is raining for the first day since we've been here. I guess that the rainy season will be here soon. (Oh yeah, did I mention it started raining while I was standing in the street watching my hotel on fire and wondering where the heck my husband was???? And he wonders why I wasn't super duper happy when he arrived . . . It was kind of one of those, "you don't even want to know the kind of day I'm having" kinda moments!) ;)
Oh, and by the way, when visiting (or living) in Brasil, it may be helpful to know that fogo means fire.


Cheryl said...

Glad to hear you didn't get hurt by the fogo! Your writings are interesting. Hope you are settling in. I too moved away but only from IA to AZ--still a shock to me--rural to very urban. When I met more people and got to go to the country, I felt much better. Hang in there. Love, Cheryl

Anonymous said...

Keep on posting. Lots of us what to know what you guys are doing!