Trapped in an elevator

On Sunday night Argentina played Peru in the Copa América (American Cup) so naturally we all gathered for the festivities at Anne and Alicia’s apartment in Recoleta. These two girls are in my class at UCA and are from American University in DC. They are staying at a friend’s vacation place until they move into their real apartments with argentines. Anyway, this place is uber fancy, and takes up the whole 5th floor of the building. So we hung out there for a few hours after the soccer game, and then decided to go down the street for ice cream a little after midnight (I love how everything’s open so late here!). Three people decide to go down the stairs, because we wouldn’t all fit into the elevator.

The key to this story is that elevators in apartment buildings in BA tend to be really old, the kind that has a door you open on the outside, and then like a cage door that slides across on the inside. The elevators where I live are manual like this too, and often when they stop, they aren’t exactly lined up with the floor when they stop either. So in this particular elevator, there was a regular wooden door that opens outward, and then the slidey cage door.

Seven of us got in the elevator. Now, I don’t know the limit there, but at home its definitely 3—but this elevator didn’t say. When we got to floor 0, or ground level, we were a good 8 inches below the floor. No big deal, right? Definitely a big deal. The wooden outer door wouldn’t open. Our friends on the outside tried to run up the stairs and call the elevator to get it moving, or to find a neighbor or doorman to help. We even tried jumping simultaneously and hitting the 0 floor button again. The alarm button didn’t do anything, and the ‘stop’ button actually just pushed straight back into the wall, leaving a hole there…so I guess that one doesn’t so much do anything.

We got a good video of us in there, which I’ll try to put on Facebook or something soon. A few people weren’t too pleased, but really, how often are you stuck in an elevator? At least this one we had the means to try to force the door, and it wasn’t airtight, so we had oxygen to spare. I don’t know what I would have been able to do in a regular, modern elevator.

We ended up getting out after about 20 minutes. Noah balanced on a ledge and reached up to the top of the outer door. He unscrewed an electrical looking box thing with Alicia’s insurance card and lifted a latch that opened the door.

What did I learn from this experience? Going out for ice cream isn’t an adventure if you just go out for ice cream, hopefully something like that happens every time I try to do something so simple in the future :)

1 Comments on “Trapped in an elevator”

  1. Annie,

    You know how much fun I’d have trapped in an elevator. So much claustrophobia…so little air! Yikes!

    Has it warmed up a bit? Amazing to hear that you’re getting a little bit of real winter south of the border!

    Keep writing. It’s fun to hear about your adventures.

    We miss you!

    Love you bunches,



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