In Juarez, rain is serious business. It doesn’t happen very often and when it does chaos ensues. The roads, which have little to no drainage, flood and even major roads become impassible to people who drive smaller vehicles with lower clearance.

Thursday morning, about 3 a.m., many of us here in CJ were awoken by what I can only describe as a torrential downpour. Lightning flashed, thunder rolled, and the rain fell so hard and fast it sounded like someone was pouring a bucket of water straight down from the sky. I knew when I got out of bed later that morning that it was going to mean a lot of flooded streets and a slower commute. I had forgotten that I made lunch-time plans with some friends to check out a new aesthetician. Thank goodness my friend, A, drove her trusty Honda Civic (195k miles and still going strong!) and we didn’t take my little Scion.

The salon is located at a pretty major intersection, but like all major roads and intersections in Juarez right now it’s under construction. The trip from work to the salon should have taken 5-10 minutes tops. It took us almost half an hour, as we were driving for most of the way through literal rivers of rain water. At one point we were both convinced the engine was going to flood and we were going to have to swim to safety. SUVs in front of us were bouncing up and down over the underwater potholes and there was no way for us to avoid them. The whole front end of her car scraped the bottom at one point while going over a particularly bad series of potholes and I when I saw the front of the hood dip below the surface of the water I seriously thought we were done for.

You should have seen it. I was terrified and would have probably started hyperventilating had I been in the driver’s seat. Not A. She said something like”holy shit this is insane” flipped the car into the lowest gear, and drove right over that series of water-filled potholes. Then she forded the rest of the river like a boss, zipped through the last traffic light, and parked us perfectly in front if the salon. That girl is incredible. She’s one of the people here who I will miss most when I leave, and we are already scheming a meet-up during our next tour.

This is one of the best parts of the Foreign Service–the amazing people you meet and get to share these (awesome and sometimes terrifying) experiences with. I’m so lucky that when it rains I have friends like her to help see me through.