December 26, 2012 12:19:41 AM

Bonnie Elbaum


While in China this summer, our family traveled to a mountainous area outside of Beijing called Fangshan for what was supposed to be a one-night stay and got trapped there after a freak flood brought 18 inches of rain in one night, bursting a dam, washing away cars and buildings, and breaking all bridges out of the region. We were stranded with our 3 small children with no power, cell phone service or running water, and dwindling food supplies and dicey sanitary conditions. We finally ended up leaving our van behind and "escaping" with the help of locals. This picture shows our group being helped up a ladder that the locals rigged up the side of a broken bridge so we could leave the village. We had to be helped down planks that they rigged to the other side of the bridge and do the same thing at the next broken bridge we got to. We found rides in between the broken bridges and finally made it back to Beijing (only about 50 miles away) about 8 hours later!

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