Saturday, February 27, 2010

So this is what happens when I take my eye off you Chile..

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 bitching about constructively criticizing aspects of Santiago city design. So I'd like to take this opportunity to officially eat my own whiny words - Santiago, you mostly didn't fall down, and I applaud that. You may not have worked out how to get customers in and out of a bank in under two hours, but at least we can be safe in the knowledge that the bank will not collapse on our heads while we're waiting in line.

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.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

the dark side of llamas

Today, in lieu of anything more comprehensive I hereby bring to you the scariest llama related animation ever made. Had I seen this before my trip I might never have gone. Enjoy.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Voted off the island..

... fortunately, there's plenty of places to escape to in these parts.

Funnily enough, amongst the llamas and alpaca herders, internet wasn't a priority here. So I haven't been ignoring you all, I've just been ... away.
More soon when I've washed the travel out of my hair, burned my clothes and regained my breath.