Wednesday April 20th

041916-216I had a full nights sleep last night!

Last night I was able to send out a couple of Facebook messages using someone’s android setup as a hot spot.  I was also able to charge my phone, tablet, etc by using a generator..  There is now power to the local transformer station so maybe today?

The night of.

I had just finished eating dinner, and was watching some YouTube… It was just getting dark outside, everything was good for a nice Saturday evening…I had my sandals on (rare I usually take them off and go barefoot) because I was going to go for a walk and get a Popsicle in a little while.

The building started to move.. Just another quake…and then “holy shit” the intensity. Could not stand or walk..
Got to my knees in the door frame of my room
Power goes out
Light from laptop
Large grinding sound (building)
Large smashing and crashing mirror dishes and plates
Crash of gas tank and stove toppling, and my blue water jug

It lasted for 45 seconds I have been told…how long is that? Just think how long that 30 second commercial lasts on tv…

Then it was over.

The sound of the surf.  And darkness.  No lights anywhere around the bay.

My first thought get out of here, second thought, my downstairs neighbor.

Grabbed my windup flashlight, shut down my laptop( save the battery ) put my phones in my pocket, turned off my gas, righted my water jug, and left my apartment.

There was debris everywhere (glass brick concrete) as I moved downstairs.  Picked up my bike that had fallen over, and made my way to Rogers’ door… Pounded…listened, no answer, pounded listened no sound… I couldn’t break through the door with the tools at hand and I wasn’t sure he was in there. Went down the stairs which was littered with broken beer bottles.

Out in the street I went to the gathering of the neighbors, I asked in my bad Spanish about Roger.  They told me he had gone out earlier…ok now time to think…everyone here ok?  One man with a bad ankle , others were looking after him.

Ok time to think…. I need to go back inside… What do I want to get, tablet, laptop, documents, wallet, Chargers for electronics, water… Camera, no it is too bulky and heavy and not important.

Back inside I go, kicking the larger pieces of beer bottles out of the way ( we used to keep a couple of empty bottles at the top of the stairs…that way if you wanted a beer you had an empty to take, when you bought your cold one.)   Past my bike, over the bricks and concrete into my apartment

Looking around ( I never did take pictures) I saw broken glass from the big mirror, water from my water jug, mixing with tea that had been in a glass jar.  I went into my room, and started picking up and unplugging wires and chargers and stuffing them in my backpack.  I put in my documents, laptop and a few other odds and ends, and quickly got out.  I kept glancing at the ocean, and there where no signs of a tsunami ( the water rushes way out before it rushes in)

Back on the street I walk around a bit, saw some buildings that had been damaged.  People were piling into the back of trucks and leaving town… Concern about Tsunami.

A friend had told me that the gathering place in San Clemente was the Cemetery… It is high flat ground.  I had checked it out in the past, and I didn’t want to get in a truck full of strangers, so how to get there?  

Back into the building to get my bike.

I went up to the third floor to get a broom that I used to clean the glass off of the stairs so I could take my bike from the second floor to the ground without destroying my tires.

About this time after getting my bike out, my phone rang.  My friend Gerri was calling to check on me, she was fine, her house was fine, her dog was ok.  She was with some other people and they were heading out.  I don’t know where and she didn’t say.

By this point I didn’t expect a tsunami….. If it was going to come it would have been there by then.  My concern was aftershocks.  

Bike ride in the dark…. Stopping to recharge ( hand crank) my flashlight.. Flashlight is a wind up one bought years ago at Canadian tire.  I have used it many times and I am very glad it still works.

No one was at the cemetery, and it was starting to rain… Where to go… I had thought about this in the past…. Gerri’s house, built strong by a builder I knew and trusted, open third floor if the water came, covered front porch out of the rain. So that is where I spent the night. Out of the rain, in the moonlight listening closely to the ocean.

 Waking and moving quickly into the yard and the rain after the aftershocks.

 I slept a few hours.

Now on Wednesday I am starting to make longer term plans.

I have very limited funds.  I usually keep a small reserve of cash, but I had used it to pay first and last on a new place to live.  The person who was arranging this is out of town so I have no idea as to what is happening. When I go past the house, it and the yard are full of people sleeping on mattresses on the ground, under sheets of plastic. I don’t think I will be moving in there.

I have money in several accounts, just no way to access the funds. Once the ATM is back online I will be happier.

Decision tree.

Can I stay where I am.  Short term yes ( safe and sound). Long term no ( mosquitos , my thinking methods do not correspond with the owners)

Move into “new” casa… Assuming it is still ok, this is my desired goal but it requires power and net.  This is still a big ? ( update: the owners now do not want to rent it. They and several other families are now living in it)

Go to Loja.  Need cash, this seems to be the best short/ medium term plan, but there are problems with logistics.

Plan for today… Reorganize my stuff, what to take to Loja (or Zamora) and what to leave here on the coast.     

I may go and take some photos as well….

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