Friday, 1 March 2013

86 - Seeing a Fire

When I went riding I saw a sign by the road with a simple message on it, it said "People, please do more good things, those above are watching what you do." This sign was painted sloppily in large red letters. I felt like I'd be warned and straightened my back and tried to think about the implications of such a message. A few moments later my bike, which is faulty, started to play up, with the gears grinding round and changing of their own accord. Of course I started to swear and lose my temper, forgetting the religious message.

Before that I'd got a little lost and wound up among abandoned graves, almost pretty with their tumbled down stones barely visible through the gone-wild undergrowth. Some icons stuck up through the weeds, the paint chipped off them in places. Thinking that this way would bring me out where I wanted to be, namely in among crops and away from the city, I carried on down the road, where huge palm leaves dangled down, leaving you no way to swerve past so you simply had to duck under them. The road then terminated. Coming round the corner I saw two large steel gates, from behind which dogs began to bark.

Going on I found the right road. I fair flew, not being able to control myself, always wanting to sprint. On that road, which is too narrow for cars, which runs past farms and fields and over a brook, you don't see much traffic. On that road you fly past chicken farms, where their squawking rises up; you also pass pig farms where the stench is strong and someone is hosing down the grunting beasts, each one as big as a couch.

I then reached the place where these little lanes meet the highway. There is one last patch of ground but this is today shrouded in smoke. Men hose down the flames. Only once a fire engine arrives do they get it under control. By this time a crowd has gathered. There is a lot of shaking of heads and tutting. It is a hot day and there's been no rain for a week or two. A woman standing there tells me that it must have been a cigarette butt that started it. We have to move because the men now turn towards us, using a more powerful hose, that's been supplied by the fire department. A great cloud of ash and smoke covers us. I said goodbye, put away my camera and went on my way.

Soon I am out among small banana plantations and plots where there are coconut trees. Dogs sleep in the shade or run along the fenced perimetres, while sprinklers creating large puddles. Before long I see the mountains, like a mirage against the white sky.

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