I Moved To Oaxaca

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

I know it's hard to tell from looking at it, but Tuesday's post was even longer before I cut it down. One of the parts I cut was my musings on how living in a city of mud bricks and I suspect not the strictest adherence to stringent building codes increases my earthquake paranoia. And then we have one.

If you want to be happy about where your tax-dollars go, have a look at the US Geological Survey site. That's the first place I surfed when I got to the computers at school yesterday afternoon. I was mightily relieved to see that the temblor was down in Miahuatlan and not in Oaxaca Valley. (Miahuatlan is a mid-size town on Hwy 175 south, where Timothy, Greg, and I had our comida on our way back from San Sebastian Rio Hondo.) Close, but not too close.

I've always lived in earthquake country, but I'm not sure if that's any advantage during the event of an actual earth-shaking emergency. We had a little foreshock yesterday around 2pm; by the time I'd decided that yes, indeed, it was a "Quake!" I sprang up and headed for the nearest doorway: in this case, the door separating the study/office/spare bedroom from our bedroom. It's a four-inch-wide plaster wall - no protection from anything stronger than morning light. So Greg and I laughed at our dash to the doorway and discussed which furniture and doorways would offer some real protection. I went back to watching The Tick dvds and Greg headed off to school. When the bigger quake hit an hour and a half later I made a beeline back to that flimsy doorway. And I stayed there as the shaking got stronger, even though I knew moving three feet and getting under the bed was better. Couldn't do it. I felt like I was six years old again.

But when it stopped I placed a couple of bottles of water and my leatherman/flashlight combo (thanks, Tom & Janina!) under the bed. For next time.


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