mental indigestion

Airport refugee June 14, 2008

Filed under: Mopey mops — mel @ 4:36 pm

Since the last post, the gears have changed somewhat from literary to aqua. More specifically, the water finally overflowed from the Iowa river, buildings were evacuated, events were cancelled and roads were closed.

During this short time frame, I have had two close shaves:

– I was initially posted to a hotel that eventually got flooded the following day. How I made a narrow escape from  it is largely due to the ever-fluid arrangements of staying with people who had rented apartments around the university and eventually settling for sharing a hotel room on a hill (key word) with a kind, kind classmate who gave me and my luggage a lift up to the new accommodation.

– After the workshop officially ended on Friday afternoon  I went back to the hotel and was just about to transfer my luggage to another kind, kind classmate’s room at the hotel on the hill. While making small talk with the concierge, they conveyed to me the word of mouth advice they had picked up – all but one roads leading out of the campus will be closed by 6pm so if I want to make my flight on Sat morning, I really had to get out of there ASAP because that one open road might get closed as well. I ditched the originally-arranged airport shuttle service because they sounded so forlorn and  non-committal (that company was based in Cedar Rapids – which has half its town totally under water) and managed to call a Don from Black & White Cabs who said he would try his darnest to get there. While waiting for him, there were many other workshop participants also having the same idea as me and waiting for various kinds of transportation. Don came first to get me though, and from there, I was taken on a two-hour whirlwind tour of rural Iowa (very pretty I must say) trying to find alternative routes to the airport – most of the time, we were on gravel roads and met with countless road blocks. However, we met a family having a BBQ outside their farmhouse and they gave some insider directions which led to the airport minus the crazy jams and hurdles. I gave Don a huge tip, what a trooper for trying so hard to find a way out. What was a little sad though is that the rest of the people at the hotel I was waiting with never made it to the airport.

Of course now I am here with nothing much to do, thank God for free wireless internet and the company of a poet couple (they had escaped even earlier than I did, straight after lunch after they talked to one of the National Guards) to make things just a little more bearable. People here have been so helpful and good-natured about things even though the situation is worrying. Which is why perhaps I am not so pissed off and miserable about it. And I really hope things look up somehow, some way or another for the Midwest flood situation, which seems almost Noah-like.

But yes, I do want to go home. I wish I had shiny red shoes like Dorothy.


4 Responses to “Airport refugee”

  1. chong Says:

    aiyo.. safely home ah

  2. Pinny Says:

    oh my goodness! cedar rapids! you were right in the thick of it! glad you’re home safe!

  3. Almostgotit Says:

    Hi Mel!

    Just checking up on you to see the WHOLE story of your get-away! Yes, Iowa House Hotel tried to relocate ME to another flooded-out hotel, too. They hadn’t bothered checking to see which hotels were and weren’t above water, just evacuated us and pretty much left all of us to fend for ourselves (we were both offered space by the same person in the “hotel on top of the hill”!) It was a GREAT week, though, with all the other writers there (including you!) and I want to go again. How about you? (maybe you’ll go to Melbourne instead, though…)


    Keep safe and well!


  4. melch Says:

    Actually, I was supposed to stay with the Indian girls and/or Jaton but it was 1.5. hours walk away from the campus so I bunked with Adele. I actually “saved” a room for Cynthia (the stranger you bunked with, my classmate whom I was supposed to stay with on Fri night) coz’ someone turned down the room at hilly hotel and I snatched it up for her right away. All this drama!

    Yes, I would go again if you all go again but perhaps I might take a few more days off to a) work off the jet lag b) mentally prepare myself for weather hazards and US domestic flights. Let’s see how 2009 goes!

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