Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Flood: Night 1

Question: What's worse than having water slowly rise on your street?
Answer: The power going off in your neighborhood so you can't really see the water.

That's right, at around noon on the first day of the flood the electricity went out in my section of the city. As the day went on we kept thinking it would come back on...but it didn't. One major problem with not having power is that my front door is basically an electric garage door (You may recall it from this blog entry: http://ahoyhanoi.blogspot.com/2008/09/no-more-ninjas.html ). When we moved in we asked the owner what would hypothetically happen if our electricity went out and we, you know, might want to leave our house. Our landlord, Thanh, told us that the door had a battery and would still work without power. What she didn't tell us is that it would only work roughly 3 3/4 times.

For some reason my school wasn't canceled (as you saw in yesterday's video) and in the midst of my second class (with two students) I got a phone call from Huyen. Normally I don't have my phone on during class but in this situation I answered it. Huyen said to me, "Ohhhhh, something very bad has happened. The front door won't go down."

Turns out our battery ran out of juice as the door was about a foot and a half from closing. A foot and a half is enough space to climb under BUT it's not enough space to get our motorbikes under. With the water level rising our bikes would have been ruined if we kept them outside. Huyen went over to the neighbor on the left of our house and asked if we could park our bikes in their house for the night. The neighbor said no (and with no shame asked me 24 hours later if I could teach her children English). Huyen went over to the neighbor on the right side of our house and they showed some neighbourly love and said yes. When I came home from work at 9:15 I pulled into the neighbors house. The neighbor had a slight look of panic on his face when he saw me. I'm guessing it was because my bike was partially smoking from driving through thigh high/engine high water.

After parking my bike I crawled under our stuck door and was handed a candle. Our night of darkness was starting...


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