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Rain, Rain Go Away……

February 21, 2010

So, we had a very exciting Friday.  Liam, MaryCate and Adeline had Spanish class that ends around 5 p.m.  Normally, we walk out, catch the #59 bus and are home by 5:30 at the latest. However, during the Spanish class the skies opened up and the rains began with a fury we haven’t seen in quite awhile.  The heavy rains were accompanied by  thunder and lightening, which made the whole event exciting to witness from the safety of our classroom.  Past experience had taught me that the commute home would be slightly more challenging given the current weather condition.  My prediction was correct but I underestimated exactly how difficult the commute would be.

I foolishly attempted to hail a cab in the downpour while I had the children stand under an overhang in an attempt to keep them dry.  Thirty minutes later, no cab, I was soaked and frustrated.  I realized that no cabs were going to be hailed and I needed to quickly move to Plan B – bus #59.  This would require me to forage for “monedas” or coins, as that is the only currency the buses will take.  I had two $10 peso bills with me and since there has been a coin shortage, gathering coins always proves a challenge.  Five stores, four transactions and $4.70 in coins later….we were ready to go.  (Note: one store just flat out refused my transaction because I wasn’t spending enough and trying to pay with a $10 peso bill…..this happens more often than you might  think. They just flat out refuse to conduct business with you.)

On with my story….we board the bus and I have to tell the driver what my fare will be (another interesting quirk to the bus system here in Argentina).  When I tell him, “quarto de uno y diez” meaning 4 for $1.10, he questions me on where I am going.  Normally, our fare is uno y vente cinco (a typical fare) but I was desperate and only had $4.70 (not enough for the typical fare) so I was basically trying to scam the driver and he was totally on to me.  He kindly let me board, soaked, with three children.  A kindness I was grateful for.  Little did I know what was in store for us.

The driver continued on his prescribed route until he reached the Zoo, at which point he began a journey on “the road less traveled”.  As we ventured into parts of Buenos Aires we have yet to visit, I saw panic wash over the faces of the children. I played it off that I knew exactly where we were…NOT!  Fortunately, we circled back around and I started seeing familiar landmarks but not before we:

  1. drove the wrong was down a one way street
  2. drove thru water that was up to the side windows of the bus
  3. had the water from the street rush into the side doors of the bus and all over the floor of the bus
  4. decided to drive over the grassy median to avoid the standstill traffic we were stuck in
  5. promptly got stuck on aforementioned media and driver asks all passengers to move to the front of the bus to lessen the weight on the back tires
  6. get unstuck from median, bus tips and all passengers are jostled about

As soon as we entered an area where the water was not thigh high, I hit the bell on the bus and we made our exit.  We were about 6 blocks or so from our house and I figured that would be about the best we could do at this point since we had been on the bus for 1 ½ hours.  Our walk home turned out to be the most treacherous part of our journey.  Seems the only way to get back to our house was to wade thru the flood of water, which was waist high for poor MaryCate.   The four of us contemplated our decision and voted to go forge on….we all just wanted to be home as it was now 2 ½ hours since Spanish class ended.  I won’t go into all the gory details of our walk/swim home but it suffices to say that the children were still queasy about it this morning.  When we arrived home wet, dirty and exhausted, we were met by Dan who was also wet, dirty and exhausted as he had been out looking for us and trying to keep the water from flooding into our house.  Home Sweet Home….however, we had no electricity.

As I write this, 36 hours later, still no electricity and they are predicting more rain.  Ugh!!

Outside our house in the midst of the rain storm.

same shot...the next day!

some brave driver thinking he could make it thru...stalled out a bit further up.

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16 Comments leave one →
  1. DeeDee permalink
    February 21, 2010 18:00

    Oh dear – I must say one of the highlights of our trip was the bus rides. Catie and I standing in line with the kids so you could give all of us our coins for the bus, due to the coin shortage. Also people watching the riders – one rider in particular comes to mind 🙂 remember??? But this ride is definitely one for the books – glad everyone made it home safe and sound.

    • Gringos In Argentina permalink*
      February 22, 2010 10:02

      dee dee- the bus ride memories still makes me laugh….if only we had gotten a picture of our “friend”. sorry you missed the rainy day bus ride…it was another one for the memory books!

  2. Eva SHEA permalink
    February 21, 2010 21:33

    Wow!!! I’m not sure I understand the coin shortage.
    What is going on with the weather? Between us with the snow and you with the flooding it’s been quite a February for us.

    • Gringos In Argentina permalink*
      February 22, 2010 09:57

      amen to that. hope it is all behind us…all of us!

  3. Debbie B. permalink
    February 21, 2010 23:05

    OK, THAT is some DIRTY, murky looking water! And to think you had to walk/swim/trudge through it…. YUCK! Glad you are all ok, and safely ensconced in your abode!

    • Gringos In Argentina permalink*
      February 22, 2010 09:58

      deb-you have NO idea how much i was scrubbing my legs and the kids’. HAZMAT to the max! totally made my skin crawl…

  4. Mary permalink
    February 22, 2010 09:33

    All that excitement for only $4.10! You drive a hard bargain Meg. Great story – better ending. Hope everyone will enjoy a day at home!

    • Gringos In Argentina permalink*
      February 22, 2010 09:59

      that’s right….it is cheap thrills here in Argentina! bottle of wine for $2 or $3 and a near death experience for 4….$4. only in south america! are you sure you don’t want to come for a visit???

      • Mary permalink
        February 22, 2010 15:21

        You are making it veeerrryyy tempting!

  5. February 22, 2010 17:08

    Wow… that is amazing. Happy you guys are okay. nice video!

    Oh and HAPPY BIRTHDAY MAC!!! xo

  6. The Other Megan permalink
    February 23, 2010 22:11

    WOW – that’s crazy! I’d be taking an antibiotic just in case 🙂

    • Gringos In Argentina permalink*
      February 23, 2010 22:17

      well, that is good thinking…i would need to find a doctor and learn the word antibiotic. you have no idea how germ-phobic i am so the whole experience is still giving me the heebie-jeebies! let me just say, our standards have slipped….I told dan that the one thing i am really looking forward to doing is showering in MY OWN shower, sleeping in my own bed and cooking dinner in my own house. standards are just more relaxed here….more go-with-the-flow. we laugh because dogs do not have to be on leashes and the walk in and out stores or lay in the doorway of a coffee shop.
      we always think how crazy the people in NOVA would go if they saw that.
      guess this is what it is all about. cautiously embracing it!!!!

  7. February 24, 2010 15:21

    If any of the things that you just described happened in San Francisco, surely there would be looting and some cult somewhere would initiate their mass suicide protocol on the assumption that it was armageddon. 🙂 Glad you guys survived! xoxo

    • Gringos In Argentina permalink*
      February 24, 2010 15:50

      believe me, there were moments when i was thinking it was armaYUCKdon! we are glad it is behind us. oh….i have to shoot you a pic i found while out roaming the streets in San Telmo! will get to in a few minutes!!! hope you all are well!!

  8. Lisa Marie Cheney permalink
    March 27, 2010 19:47

    Megan, I think you should write a book when you get home…I can just see you convincing the bus driver that you had enough money to cover all of you for the bus ride…Zoo side trip sounds interesting…having to move seats to get the bus off the median, would be about the time I was deciding it was probably time to get off the bus….the walk home sounds gushy–and toxic as you say above. However, the overall experience…and the ability to tell the story…priceless!!

  9. Gringos In Argentina permalink*
    March 27, 2010 20:02

    ok, so this was SOOOOO disgusting! i would love to have gotten off the bus but….the water was up to marycate’s chest….i was afraid she would be carried away down a storm drain! it was so BIZARRE! of all the experiences, this is ONE I would not want to relive! but…, it was memorable. what a day it was!

    besos-

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