For the novice to Nanjing, the first words of advice come courtesy of that handy publication “The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy” – DON’T PANIC. Nanjing experiences flooding every year as a matter of course, and the locals are experienced and well prepared. Here is what they would tell you:
1. Stay home. You are safer and more productive, especially if you have an Internet connection.
2. Call in sick. Your employer will understand. Chinese people have a tendency to focus on safety for you and your family and so there are a multitude of excuses that work wonders.
“My house is flooded. I am waiting for my landlord”
“I live on the first floor. I cannot even cross the street”
“I am afraid of catching malaria in the water”
3. Go to the cash machine. Deposits are low while people put off this kind of activity and soon the machines are going to run dry. You’re going to need it to pay for the unexpected.
4. Stock up on necessities. We are some way off this yet, but not since the snow-in of 2008 has Nanjing seen any chance on running short of supplies. Make sure you have enough instant noodles in the cupboard.
5. Head to Gulou. It may be sound obvious but in these circumstances many people forget that water flows downhill. As the highest point in the city, the area within a couple of hundred metres of Gulou Drum Tower is seeing business almost as usual, except for you and your friends heading there for dinner! Low-lying areas to avoid that are annually prone to the floods include Xinjiekou, Zhongshan Bei Lu, Zhongyang Lu and many areas in Hexi.
6. Order out. Invite a bunch of friends over to enjoy the experience together. The food delivery companies and our ever attendant American fast food chains have their mopeds and up and running dodging the puddles to bring you burgers, fries and a coke. Tip the delivery guy a bit; you can only imagine what he has gone through to get it to you.
7. Careful when you cross the street. It is best to follow what others are doing, unless you are extremely familiar with what lies beneath the waters. If you have an open wound on your feet or lower legs, don’t risk it. After braving the knee deep waters, have a shower!
8. Beware of storm drains and manhole covers that may have been opened to permit more drainage.
This small selection of tips is just the beginning. Good luck and enjoy the ride/sail.