Monday, November 17, 2008

Ten Hours Later...

I've been swinging in my roof hammock for the past hour; the city is quiet quiet quiet. No typhoon yet.

After I post the typhoon warning, Dr. Mark comes in my room during my Vietnamese lesson with Phouc. "Go straight home after school," he says. "Get food, water, flashlights and candles. Go straight home. Move anything valuable that could be covered with up to eight feet of water. Move your computer away from the window."

Eight feet of water? I'm picturing K, T and myself swimming on the first floor of the castle and a bit of panic sets in. I look at Phouc and she keeps a straight face until he leaves. "There will be no typhoon here," she says, nonchalantly.

"What do you mean?" I say.

She just shrugs and we go back to the lesson, but I can't concentrate. I keep checking with her. "If there's a typhoon, there's a typhoon. Until then, there is no typhoon," she says.

On my way straight home, I see a bunch of kids downstairs waiting for their rides. "Are you scared?" I ask them. None of them are. "Nothing will happen," they all say, and, "We get the day off!"

I have evil Jack (the one that gets to Anna) translate to Nam that I won't need him to take me to school tomorrow. He is completely confused. He looks up to the sky and waves his hand in dismissal. He doesn't think anything will happen, either (this man who knows when it's going to rain an hour before it does). On the way home, he takes a new turn and I know exactly what he is doing. Of course, since he, along with every other Vietnamese resident of Ho Chi Minh City, seems to feel no need to go straight home, he is showing me that he knew a shortcut to the Co op Mart. He hasn't let it go. "See, this is how I would have taken you to the Co op Mart if you had told me where we were going or if you had written down the address," he says (and I swear, it makes the trip maybe one minute shorter). (!) But today I am rested, so I just laugh and give him a friendly hit. "OK, OK, I get it!" I say. "And by the way, why don't you stop, while we're here..."

I go in and buy canned tuna, bread and a flashlight (so sorry, Brian, I wouldn't have made it home for my passport and to the post office to get your much superior flashlight in time). When I find Nam outside, he checks my bags, and he even checks my receipts. When I tell Katherine about this later, she says, "You know, at home we wouldn't even like Nam. We would think he was a total jerk." But here he is a topic of entertainment. Like the other day when he rides past Katherine and yells "7:00! 7:00!" and points toward the road, and K is thinking 'I don't need a ride at 7:00.' and then he says, "Marjorie, 7:00!" and then she understands that he is just telling her that he is picking me up at 7:00. "Yeah, Marjorie, 7:00! Woo hoo!" she yells back at him, and gives him a thumbs up. She is funny.

Anyway, it turns out that we are the only school in the city that will be closed tomorrow. I can find nothing about it on the internet. It seems that we have a "snow day" tomorrow with no snow. None of us are complaining. I already have my day planned, times three. What a gift. Well, I mean, if the people who have lived here for years are right, rather than my principal who moved here just a few months ago. I guess we will know for sure tomorrow, won't we? I could be swimming in eight feet of water in the castle, with a measley plastic Ever Ready flashlight. But I have canned tuna to swim to, if that is what happens.


kumma said...

Wouldn't the tuna be able to swim to YOU?

Amy T said...

I had something to say... but kumma's tuna vision knocked it right out of me.

Ha ha ha ha ha ha.

Brian Bowker said...

I know exactly the kind of flashlight you got - It's probably a colored plastic 2xD flashlight like you can find for $2 at any grocery store in the US. It likely puts out a ringy, yellowish beam that dims to 50% brightness in 2-3 hours and isn't water tight. If you drop it the incandescent bulb will likely break (if the shattering of the plastic body doesn't provide enough shock absorption first).

The flashlight I sent you should put out roughly the same amount of light, but in a much whiter, smoother, diffuse pattern. It runs at peak brightness for about 10 hours and then at a dimmer level for another 10 or so hours. It's waterproof to several hundred feet, crush resistant to almost 1000 pounds of pressure, and the LED bulb will never break or burn out. It runs off on 1xAAA battery and will fit on your key chain, so you can always have it with you in case of a surprise typhoon.

So it's basically the same thing.

marjie said...

Brian, how cool. You got in a commercial for the flashlight. I will post a picture of it when I finally pick it up, too. And you are exactly right about the EverReady.

(My brother has many fascinating interests, and flashlights are one of them!)

Brian Bowker said...

No, if I was going to throw in a commercial for the light I would have said that it is a Fenix E01 and that it is available for $15 with free, worldwide shipping from