Posted by: Sarah | April 22, 2007

I used to sit and watch the pouring rain…

It rained two days ago, for the first time since late October. This was the first weekend in months that it was too overcast and rainy to spend a lazy Saturday afternoon tanning at the pool.

I probably explained the arroyo phenomenon months ago when I first arrived to Barranquilla, home of the craziest rainstorms I have ever experienced, anywhere. The brilliant city planning, or lack thereof, has left the fourth largest city in this country with no sewer or drainage system. It’s also below the level of the Magdelena River, which runs alongside the city and eventually empties out into the Caribbean at Puerto Colombia. Hence, when it rains, it not only pours, it also floods. Solution? Many of the major streets were built at a steep slope so that the rainwater is directed downward in the correct direction to empty out the city. The arroyos are the rivers that form in the streets as a result, causing traffic standstills for extended periods of time, as the possibility of being washed away for trying to cross one of the arroyos is not unheard of.

Silly me, I naively assumed earlier this evening that once the rain had finally let up, I was safe to venture outside. wrong. Determined to pick up some ice cream from Crepes & Waffles (anyone who has been to Colombia knows they have the best ice cream in the country) for our girls night in, I hopped on the bus that would drop me off a mere 3 blocks from the restaurant.

Once I got off, I realized that I was trapped on a corner between two arroyos that still had not stopped. I walked almost around the entire block, finally deciding to roll up my jeans and cross the street where the water seemed a little shallower. It never really looks as deep as it is. I stepped off the curb and the water rose half way up my calf. So much for keeping my pants dry.

I made it safely across the street, only to find myself in the same predicament a block farther up. The restaurant was across the street…almost there. This one was much easier…until without realizing it, my flip flop slid off and out of my grasp. Trying not to slip, I ran, half barefoot, down the block, dodging the crazy BQ traffic, looking like a fool who can’t catch her sandal. I finally snag the flip flop, but not before my jeans are soaked above the knee.

Chin up, hold onto the last shread of dignity as I walk into C&W, looking like a complete mess, order my ice cream and head back to Melissa’s apartment.

All in a day in the life in Colombia…



  1. you there? have internet? call me

  2. Must be good ice cream

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