Saturday, September 14, 2013

I Mispronounced Inundación 428 Times This Week

I used to love the rain. Absolutely loved it. Having lived a large portion of my life in Central Arizona, rain was a rarity and something I always looked forward to. However, after getting in a car accident last year in the middle of a storm when I was only driving 30 mph, I am now ridiculously afraid of driving in the rain. Yeah, I'm the asshole doing 40 on the freeway while it's sprinkling.

On Thursday morning I broke down in the car while trying to navigate through the rain as we drove up Hermanos Escobar on our way to work. I was in tears, I couldn't breathe, I had to pull over. It scared the crap out of Gordo, that's for sure. It was the panic attack to end all panic attacks. Our windshield wipers don't work properly, nor do our headlights (only the high beams work) so I think that added to it all. Combining my driving anxiety with car problems while simultaneously trying not to drive into a sinkhole in the dark when it was pouring rain created the perfect storm. Pun intended.

Juarez obviously isn't known for it's rainfall; I think we only average a couple of inches a month during monsoon season. Although other areas get much more rain, the city just isn't equipped for that much water. The few storm drains and reservoirs that exist quickly overflowed into the streets and parks and unfortunately homes and businesses.

To get an idea of what it was like this week in Juarez, check out this video by Marco Antonio Retana.

Driving through flood waters is the scariest experience I've ever had on the road. On Thursday night I was at an event in Las Cruces and didn't get back into Juarez until about 9:30. By that time my neighborhood had become completely inaccessible. I tried all the back alleys and every route I could think of but they all just looked like a raging river with stranded cars here and there. I called my husband in desperation to let him know that I was just going to sleep in the car on higher ground but he insisted that our SUV could make it through one particular street. In my head I kept hearing the message that I'd heard all day on the radio in El Paso: Turn Around, Don't Drown. Gordo said I was just being dramatic and that I needed to man up.

Como las meras meras viejas he said.

So I grabbed my lady balls and drove over to the street he had told me about. I thought he had officially lost his mind because that street looked just as flooded as all of the rest. Then I noticed some men out on their front patio and recognized one of Gordo's friends, Horacio. Good man. I asked him if he'd seen anyone else drive through that street. Pues no, pero tu puedes! No mas quedate cerca a la banqueta derecha!

Alright. Balls to the wall. I stayed to the right, as close to where I assumed the curb to be, because of course, it was covered with water. I briefly recalled the advice given to me earlier in the day from a co-worker. If you can't see the curb, it's too deep to drive through. Well. So much for that. I slowly made my way into the lake, careful not to hit the brake. Gordo had warned me a million times, don't brake. I don't know why and frankly I didn't care to ask. I just wanted to get home. So I drove. Halfway down the street water began to creep into the car and I immediately freaked out. I knew I shouldn't have listened to all these idiots! Turn around, don't drown! That's who I should have listened to!

And so in true Emily style, I panicked and gunned it. Water poured into the car. But guess what? I made it through the lake. I didn't turn around but I certainly didn't drown and by the grace of God, I didn't flood the engine. I came home and cried while Gordo laughed at me and then reprimanded me for being such a baby about all of this. People lost their homes he said. And you're over here crying because you're afraid to drive through a little agua! Word.

You gotta love a man who can put you in your place.

The lake in front of our house that Gordo fondly referred to as Lago Cruz...

Only my husband would take the dogs for a walk in this weather!

Lucy fell in the lake... Meeko to the rescue!

Things got bad in parts of El Paso too. Thankfully the police stepped in and roped off some areas.
Notice the Spanish caution tape.... in El Paso. You won't be seeing that on The Bridge...

It finally stopped raining and the waters have receded. Things are starting to get back to normal. Thankfully, there is only a 30% chance of rain for the next couple of days. I am lucky enough to say that the water never reached our front door, but I wish I could say the same for everyone else in Juarez, and in Colorado for that matter. My heart goes out to those who lost their belongings or have been displaced from their homes. 

My thoughts and prayers are with you.


  1. Wow, so much rain. Water does seem to be the theme of the week. I alternate between living in Houston (rain in Houston is like snow in the NE; people do drive slowwwly) and Tokyo. Today in Tokyo there is a typhoon and massive flooding, and in my Houston kitchen there's a plumbing leak and massive flooding. Water water stay where you're wanted!

    1. Yes! And I know this is nothing compared to what people in Japan and other parts of the world have to deal with on the regular. So sad. Hope you get your leak fixed!

  2. It did that in Monterrey our first year there. I thought I was going to have a heart attack trying to drive to work at 5AM. It was horrible. I was lucky that I was in a tracker so no water could get in. I did not want to even drive in it because the night before our patio flooded into our house. We had about 2 inches of water downstairs that we were sweeping out or supposedly sweeping out. It would only come right back in. It was horrible! Miguel said it is raining all week and there are more thunderstorms with flood warnings this week. The river is already high he said so I am praying it doesn't get any worse. Our house is 3 houses up a hill from the river and the last time it flooded up to the edge of the property. Stay safe amiga!!

  3. Now, listen to me, you mujer loca!! Listen to YOUR voice, not the advice of a crazy man. LOL. Seriously, what you did is what all those other people that DON'T make it said to themselves. You were lucky.....THIS time. I want to keep reading your stories, so keep yourself safe; I know where you live. '-O

  4. Juarez is known for flooding in the streets during rainy season, if it lasted longer maybe they would start to think about proper drainage...

  5. I was lucky that I was in a tracker so no water could get in. I did not want to even drive in it because the night before our patio flooded into our house. We had about 2 inches of water downstairs that we were sweeping out or supposedly sweeping out.
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    1. That's horrible! I'm so grateful no water got in our house. I hope you didn't have any major damages to your home.