Too soon? Perhaps.
I hate earthquakes. Just like I don't like swimming in really deep ocean (ergh.. dangling with all that space underneath you...) I don't like it when the ground moves. I'm not afraid to admit that I act like a wuss when it happens, although to my blessed relief I've slept through or been otherwise unaware of all the temblors I've been told we've had since I arrived in Chile (with the exception of the one about a month ago when I woke up and demanded to know why O was moving the bed in the middle of the night).
Nonetheless, since I've been in Chile people have been telling me that the 'big one' is overdue and I have subsequently been crapping myself that it will happen while I'm there. Turns out that in the end it waited till I was just out of the country..
In the end I'm not sure if I would have preferred to have been there in the terrifying midst of it or here not knowing what had happened - I spent hours trying to get through to O on non-existent phone lines, skype, checking Chilean news sites to see if they were working (they weren't) and reading twitter to try and get news. Eventually I found a webcam broadcasting from Providencia which showed my apartment building, so at least I knew it was still standing. Now I've spoken to O and seen more pictures, so I know that the damage in my part of the city was minimal.
Some might say that I spend a fair bit of time on the blog
Sadly this wasn't the case everywhere - people elsewhere in the city and country did suffer damage and tragically there have been a number of lives lost. (EDIT: this number has taken a huge jump on day two after the quake as they reach the more isolated areas - it now looks like while Santiago had a lucky escape this is not reflective of the rest of the country.)
But a huge shout out to Chile in general for being as prepared for this as a country can be, for having good anti-seismic structures and action plans that will help to prevent a greater loss of life, and most of all to the people, who've taken this all in an unbelievably calm manner. Hell, O was even joking as he described how our 15th floor apartment was, and I quote, 'rocking like jelly'. Ugh. My hat sincerely off to you all.
Thanks to everyone who emailed to check if everyone we know is safe and well - they are.
Following Margaret from Cachando Chile's lead, there is a series of photos of the quake here which show some of the devastation around the country.
EDIT: buscador de desaparecidos aqui. favor difundir.