Chinese Fire Drill

According to, there are two common meanings for the phrase Chinese Fire Drill. One means “extreme confusion”. The phrase apparently originated shortly during/after WWI and was used in a derogatory sense. The other describes a prank involving rotating human bodies, red stop lights, and motor vehicles; if one does not find a new place in the car/van/whatever before the red light turns green, doors are locked, the victim left in the middle of the street.

Below you will find photos of the “prank” meaning:


The photo below, taken Saturday afternoon around 5:00 p.m., show part of my sea shipment arriving at our house.


Yes, those are huge pieces of furniture being trucked to my house from the front gate, half a mile away, on dollies. I had been told that we had a 40 ft. container of household goods leaving Brazil. Apparently not. The rest was stuffed into a random container about which we were not informed until it showed up this weekend. My ego has been dealt a severe blow as I had previously gloated that I had reduced to just one container. I sulked all Sunday morning.

Last night, when I had finished writing this, there was this on the news:


Mr. Understanding was in an airplane yesterday but not this one. Can I just say how happy I am that those slides work and that everyone onboard and on the ground survived?

In any event, please send in your votes for whichever meaning you feel best applies to the unloading of my partial sea shipment. Me, I’m undecided.



Filed under Life, Luggage, Moving

2 responses to “Chinese Fire Drill

  1. General Confusion

    Is that a 9 mm pistol on Mr. Yell0wshirt’s right hip, so as to better guard your partial shipment, or perhaps a cell phone holster so that he can call for directions?

  2. expat princess

    General Confusion: You did not vote. Perhaps you do not have this civil liberty in the Banana Republic from which you hail and thus are unaccustomed the practice. That would be a cell phone holder, you are right. No pistol whipping here – we go straight to the shooting.

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