There I was in the office, working away, blissfully unaware that I would soon bear witness to the terrifying spectacle that is the Thai fire drill.
Now, I've been through a few fire drills in my time. Most of them ended with a few laughs and a head count. How sheltered a life I've lived. Yesterday's fire drill was part circus act, part Sylvester Stallone movie. I knew something was up when after stumbling down 18 flights of stairs I was given a small cup of pop corn and some kind of sweet, green drink. There was a show about to start.
And what a show it was. Armed with a megaphone, a Thai chap — who I assume was a firefighter, if not a stunt man — started telling us a little about fire hazards before he and his mate rolled out two old gas canisters. After demonstrating how the valves can be opened and shut, the dynamic duo took aim away from the crowd and unleashed two 20-foot fireballs into the sky, much to the delight of the Thais in attendance and the terror of the expats.
We were then treated to a fire show, complete with audience participation as terrified office workers were asked to come forth and take turns closing the valves, thus turning off the formidable flamethrowers.
Suffice to say, there's a large patch of concrete outside our building that is now black.