Pohang Fire!!!

Every year we've lived in Korea winter has been this never ending Siberian inspired thing that just drags on and on and on until it's May and we're still wearing our heavy coats and going crazy.  Maybe it's global warming, or maybe it's something else, but this year we actually had a day that was 80 degrees in March!  Unbelievable.  So Sara and I went out on the scooter to Bukbu Beach for lunch.  We wanted a hamburger so we went out to NYC Cafe, but they're closed.  Great.  Do you know what the next best hamburger in Pohang is?  McDonald's.  So we went to McDonald's.  And then, sitting on the beach trying to figure out what to do next, ash started floating down.  Little black scraps.  The smell of smoke filled the air and we noticed a giant arm of smoke rising behind the buildings.  So we jumped on our scooter and tried to chase it down.  By the time we got close, all the roads were closed, so we don't have any pictures of the flames, but we did get a lot of pictures of the smoke.  Quite the adventure, since we wiped out on the bike and popped the front tire.  Both of us are unharmed, but it was quite the sight, these two way-gooks on a scooter eating it on their way to a fire.  Luckily this is Korea where convenience is king, and about thirty feet from where I put the bike down was a scooter shop.  He fixed us up and we were on our way.  Apparently the fire started with some twelve year old playing with matches or a lighter.  As always, here's 10 pictures and some foolish comments.

The other thing about Korean spring time is the yellow dust.  This picture is pretty much how it is all the time right now. Grey sheets covering everything.  Pollution drifts over from China and can make it dangerous to go outside.  Before we go for a run, Sara checks the pollution levels.  So, good weather, but air quality that reduces the length of your life.  Awesome.

I've never seen so much smoke.  I could feel it in my lungs, even from this distance.

This is before we realized that a giant blaze was consuming a small part of our town.

Chasing it down.  The sun through the smoke made everything kind of shine gold.

Pohang is a series of hills and valleys and we were on the other side of the hill from the fire. Here's the smoke pouring over the top of this hill, just streaming across the city.

Most of these pictures were taken by Sara on the back of the scooter. When we ate it, she even held the camera up so it wouldn't get smashed. What a pro. 

The road's going in this direction were closed and all kinds of mayhem(traffic congestion) broke out. It looks like these apartment buildings were on fire, but I think it was mostly contained to the trees on the hills.

This one makes it look like the fire's chasing us, you can just see a giant ball of smoke in the background.  

This is about where we went down.  The road was closed and as we started to U-turn, the bike just slipped out from under me and boom, on the pavement.  Sara had a little scratch on her knee, but we were alright.  I don't think anyone was hurt or killed in the fire, though I'm sure some people had bad smoke inhalation.  Helicopter's flew overhead all day and now I think everything is calm again.  The first nice day of the year and the town almost burnt down.

1 comment:

  1. UPDATE: One person did die in the fire, which is terrible. Also 70 something people were injured and over a hundred evacuated. Apparently the fire was started by a 12 year old who is in big trouble with the city. A sad day.