Wednesday, January 10, 2007

The worst time of my life

This is the English Version of my last post. It doesn't include the end, because I think I ran out of time when writing it. I wrote this first, then translated it into Spanish, which is probably why the Spanish is not very good.



The worst time of my life

It was the end of a beautiful summer day. My two friends and I had just finished setting up our camp on the beach and were about to begin cooking our dinner. The sun was just going down and the sunset was beautiful. “Goodbye, sun!” we called as we waved to our celestial friend. Then, as we looked out over the ocean towards the west, a large coast guard helicopter flew into view. It was flying low over the beach and as it approached our camp it slowed down and began to hover. My friends and I looked at each other and wondered why the helicopter seemed so interested in us. Just then, a voice blared at us from a loudspeaker on the aircraft. “Attention!” the voice boomed. “A tidal wave is expected in ten minutes! Evacuate the beach immediately!” Then the helicopter flew away, leaving us standing there in a state of shock.

As you can imagine we were very confused. At first I thought that I had misunderstood the voice from the helicopter. I turned to one of my friends and asked him, “Did he say ‘tidal wave’?” I could tell by the look on his face that he had heard the same thing that I had. “They must be playing a joke on us” my other friend said. The lack of conviction in his voice made it clear that he didn’t believe this any more than I did. “Why would they do something like that?” I asked. The three of us turned and looked out over the waves towards the horizon as the reality of the situation sank in.

We had made our camp about one mile from the place where the trail led down to the beach. Even under the best of conditions it would take at least half an hour to pack up all of our equipment and hike back down the beach to the trail. Then we would have to hike up the steep trail for at least another twenty minutes to get to high ground. In other words, we had ten minutes (according to the man in the helicopter) to do almost an hour’s worth of walking. Even if we left all of our things behind and ran the whole way it would take more than ten minutes. To make matters worse, the sun had just gone down and it was beginning to get dark. I found myself in the grip of a cold panic.

Suddenly we sprang into action. We began to grab everything we could and threw all of it into our packs. Then we started running as fast as we could down the beach, all the time keeping a careful watch on the ocean. A thousand questions flew through my mind: What does a tidal wave look like? How fast do they move? How high will we have to climb to be safe? Why didn’t the helicopter stop to pick us up? What does it feel like to drown?

As I said at the beginning, for some reason I never finished the English version. I don't remember why, but it was probably because I knew that I was just duplicating my work, and that it is really best to try to think and write in the target language anyway.

A friend of mine ran the Spanish version through Babel Fish, and came up with the following:

The worse hour of my life

It was the beautiful day end of the summer. My two friends and I finished installing our camping in the beach and was on the verge of beginning cooking our supper. The sun was hardly low and the decline was pretty. "Good bye, sun" we called while we waved to our celestial friend. Then, while mirabamos by the ocean towards the west, a helicopter of the guard of the coast flew in Vista. It flew low by the beach and our camping approached and began to float. My friends and I watched the one to the other and we asked porqué the helicopter seemed interested in us so. Indeed then, a voice sounded to us of a megaphone in the airship "Attention" the voice resounded "is expected a ground swell in ten minutes! Evacuate the beach immediately " Then the helicopter flew outside, leaving we there in a scare state.

As you can imagine, estababamos we very disturbed. I thought in the beginning that I have badly understood the voice of the helicopter. I returned to one from my friends and I asked it."said ` sea to Us of fondó" It could discern by the aspect in its face that had heard the same thing.

"a joke in us Is single" my other friend said. The lack of conviction in its voice did it clarifies that it did not believe this any more than I. "Porqué would do something like that" I asked. The three of us returned and watched over the waves towards the horizon while the reality of the situation recorded to us in the memory.

We had made our camping approximately one mile of the place where the path took to the beach. Under the good conditions but it would even take at least half an hour to condense everything of our equipment and to make the march by the beach to the footpath. Then we would have to make a long walk above the lofty footpath at least another twenty minutes arrive at quite high earth to be safe. In another words, we had ten minutes (according to the man in the helicopter) to do almost one hour of walking. Even if we left everything of our things and we ran all the distance, would take more than ten minutes. To make subjects worse, the sun finished putting itself and began to arrive dark.

I was in the power of a cold panic. We jumped suddenly in action. We began to take hold everything that we could and we threw everything in our messes. Then we began to walk as fast as we could by the beach, watching all along careful the ocean. Thousand questions flew by the mind: How it seems a ground swell? How much fast they move? How much high we must raise to be safe? Porqué did not make the helicopter stops to gather to us? How one feels to drown?

Possibly we arrived at the footpath and we raised high earth. By then he was completely dark and we could not see nothing. We seated and we listened the ocean by space of which it seemed to us to be long time. After several hours we decided that the danger has finished. There would not be any ground swell, but we knew that our excursion of the camping finishes. We made a long walk of three miles in the dark by the forest to where the car was parked and went to house. In the trip to home we heard by the radio has been a warning of the ground swell and that had evacuated several towns throughout the coast. When the wave finally extended to the border, nevertheless, I was only three feet of height.

Babel Fish didn't do too badly in this case.

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