Sunday, May 6, 2007

Xiamen Firefighters

We walked to school today – and found out that there wasn’t school after all! Apparently we were supposed to go to school last Sunday to make up for THIS Monday! Sigh.

But I guess we were meant to be walking home from school at that time -- as we walked we saw three red fire trucks parked at the curb near the park in front of Xiada’s administration building (I’m a traditionalist when it comes to fire trucks, so I’m glad Xiamen fire trucks are red instead of the boring white ones we have at home in Fort Worth!). Note that the emergency number to call the fire department is 119! In the park we came upon a group of firefighters running drills in their bright green uniforms.
The object of the drill seemed to be to connect several lengths hose on the run. One firefighter took off carrying two rolls of hose. After he traveled about two hose-lengths, he dropped the end of one hose and then hooked the other hose to the other end as he ran on. The other firefighter also had two rolls of hose, but he didn’t run right away. He hooked one hose to the hydrant connection, then ran after the first firefighter. He also hooked his two hoses together as he ran, and then hooked them to the other firefighter’s hose.

It was all very impressive. Except when the firefighters dropped the hoses while trying to connect them or missed the connection altogether or tripped over their own feet! One firefighter did all three, and the squad leader (marked by the presence of a walkie-talkie) was obviously frustrated with him. He was chewing him out in Chinese, and pointed to the man’s untied shoe lace. When the bumbler bent down to tie his shoe lace, the squad leader hit him on the head with his helmet (three times!) – good thing the bumbler was wearing a helmet!

The squad did the same drill over and over, meticulously rolling up the hoses again and again.We watched for about an hour, and then the hardworking men in green got to take a break after ceremoniously removing their helmets.
Most sat or stood about, but several pulled out cameras and started taking pictures of each other! Do you think they might be new recruits, as impressed as we were by their bright green uniforms?! One asked me to pose for a picture with him – of course. So I asked him to reciprocate!

Maya has long said she wants to be a firefighter when she grows up. Watching all that hard work didn't change her mind -- she STILL says she wants to be a firefighter!


mimifrancoise said...

What fun! I wonder if those green uniforms glow in the dark. They do look bright. You do take very good pictures.
bises said...

I have become addicted to your blog. I am enjoying it everyday. I belong to the Yahoo grandma's group and learned about your trip there. I have a beautiful granddaughter from China and my daughter and son-in-law are waiting now for word for their second child from China. I plan to accompany them on the next trip so I am voraciously absorbing all the info that I can. You are a delightful source of information and your little girls are wonderful! Here in Kansas I look forward to reading your blog each day.