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.