04 October 2005

The Indoor Ark

The cable guy came this afternoon to install the box. I can now watch 48 channels, ten of which are in English. I was really looking forward to a night of zoning out in front of the TV. However, there was nothing worth watching.

I’d thought about taking a stroll over to this cafĂ© for a cup of something, but then the rains started. And not just any rain. Torrential downpours with all the accompanying noise and electrical activity. I decided on channel surfing as the evening’s activity.

When I found myself watching Chinese game shows at 9:30 at night, I knew it was time to turn off the tube. I got up off the couch in the living room, which is an area elevated about six inches from the rest of the apartment, looked over to the floor by the kitchen, and noticed splotches of dark stuff all over.

I’ll back track a bit tell of the construction that is going on in the apartment above me. On Monday morning, while I was happily arranging my possessions, I started to hear some hammering noises from above. Then I heard drills and pounding. It was so loud I wouldn’t have been able to carry on a conversation had someone been here.

I knew this was no simple matter of someone moving furniture around. The apartments here are built as big empty rooms, and sold as is. The owners then build it in whatever way they choose. I walked up the flight of stairs to be sure. Yep, a big, huge, two story penthouse was getting its first walls put in. I slumped back down the stairs knowing that my life would probably be hell for the next month or so.

But back to the stuff on the floor. My first thought was that they’d cut a whole in my ceiling and crap was coming in. I stepped down from the raised living room area and splashed into several inches of water. Oh no! They must have made a big hole and with the rain, water must be pouring in. I looked up to the ceiling, but there were no water marks. I looked at the new 20 liter water bottle I’d had delivered, but it wasn’t leaking. Then I started to walk towards the bedroom.

Oh my god, oh my god! I was sloshing through inches of water that so far covered the entryway and kitchen. On into the lake in my bedroom, and I again looked at the ceiling, but it wasn’t coming from there. Standing in all that water, I wasn’t about to start flipping light switches, so it took a moment to see where the water was coming from. It was flowing in through the balcony door.

My tiny balcony is set three inches lower than the rest of the apartment. On one end is a drain. As soon as I opened the door which, by the way, does not form a seal with the bedroom, I saw the problem. The drain was not draining. The entire balcony was inches deep in water.

I stepped out into the pool and rain, reached into the drain and removed the filter. Immediately, all the water was sucked down. I ran back in and started to grab anything that was touching the floor, like the clothes on my bed that I had brought in when the monsoon started.

I guess I didn’t really ‘run’ anywhere. These are tile floors and I was trying to remain upright. Back in the entryway/dining area, I grabbed wooden chairs and put them onto the elevated space. There was no way I could move the table or the bed. I tried to think of how I was going to clean this all up. I haven’t yet found that floor squeegee, and I had nothing but a bath towel.

For the next forty-five minutes, I pushed water around using one towel and my feet. Some of it went back out the balcony door, but most went into the bathroom. Fortunately, bathrooms here are totally made of tile with a big drain in the corner. Every time I thought I had it all, I’d step into another three inch pocket of dirty balcony water. When the majority of it was cleaned up, I turned on the A/C and my small fan.

I think I got it all, but there may be some under the platform bed. Nothing much I can do. Hopefully, there will be no damage. And I’m getting some sort of mop tomorrow.

I guess a high point of the day, other than the cable box, was that the noise from the penthouse remained at a very tolerable level after the initial two hours of horror. Hopefully, that will be the case everyday.

My hands are water-logged, but boy, are my nails white!