I have lots of adventures to tell! But I haven’t yet, mainly because I’ve been away from Internets. And I’ll be traveling again soon so probably won’t update for some time. And I’ll be increasingly busy. So we’ll see what happens here.
Today I went to see my grandmother. Actually, I saw both of my grandmothers. But one of them lives in the city and the other lives in the countryside. So we have to drive a little bit of a ways to see my grandmother in the countryside.
Anyways, on our way to see my grandmother out of the city, fire engines were passing us. And then more passed us. The thing is, out in the middle of nowhere, there’s… not much there. As you’re driving down this road there’s only one little village ahead. And that was the village where my grandmother lived. And all the fire engines were heading in that direction. Uh oh.
We took a side road to my grandmother’s house, because the main road into the village was blocked. We parked, and ahead of us was a lot of smoke.
Apparently what had happened is that there was an old person (in Taiwanese it can be hard to tell gender, and this is all from my interpretation [note: not translation] of my grandmother’s Taiwanese) who did recycling for money. So this person gathers various kinds of paper (I think) and held them in his/her house. The stove (this I heard directly from the neighbor whose house was caught on fire subsequent to the original fire, also an interpretation and not a translation) in this recycling person’s house was often left on while the person was away. And then because there was so much to burn inside, it burned really quickly. And then jumped to the next house over. [Further note: I don’t know if you know what village gossip is like, but this is village gossip in its purest and best form. And then interpreted by me. Because I really understand maybe two-thirds of all the Taiwanese that is going on.] I guess nothing had ever happened before, but then this time, a fire started. And it was a really big fire. I saw a video of the actual burning, and it was quite… burning.
My grandmother was inside her house singing karaoke as the fire was going on. (My grandmother sings karaoke every day like clockwork.) She didn’t actually get to see the fire itself. And then she had a tirade about one of my relatives who also collects cardboard/paper stuff for recycling. (I’m somehow related to a good number of people in the village, but I don’t know what the relationship is. My family on my dad’s side has been living in the same area for hundreds of years.)
Anyways. The electricity was also cut until the fire was almost completely put out, so my mom and I went out to buy a flashlight for my grandma. And I also got to play with some fire (candle-style) myself. Made me kind of wish (only tiniest, slightest bit) that we still lived by candle light. We sat there in the dark with my grandmother until the lights came on. Every once in a while my mom would pop her head outside to see the progress. The burning houses were only down the street. I’m really bad with distances, but I’m going to guess not more than 150 feet from my grandmother’s front door.
Then it rained a little bit. And the smoke cleared up a little bit.
At the end, a lot of people were just standing around and loitering and gossiping. And then I watched firemen who had just fought the fire smoke cigarettes. That was interesting for me.