posted by Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy
When an earthquake rattled the East Coast this week, it made me think about my own experiences with having "the earth move." The DH and I are native Californians who have never lived anywhere but the Golden State. Given California's reputation with regard to earthquakes, the two of us have lots of stories to tell about quakes, right?
DH has never been in a major earthquake, and the only one I was ever in happened when I was six-months-old (which hardly counts). In fact, these two old Californians had to go all the way to Hawaii to experience an earthquake first hand!
We are very lucky because we live where it is easy to find inexpensive deals to Hawaii. Such was the case one recent October when a travel agency we've often used offered a five day trip to Honolulu, and we decided to go for it. Our high rise hotel was in a GREAT location, across the street from the Honolulu Zoo and half a block from the beach. The views from our ninth story room were wonderful -- we could see all the way to Diamond Head.
Sunday morning at 7 a.m. I was awakened from a sound sleep by the bed shaking. Thinking the DH had returned from his morning swim and was playing a game of 'let's wake up the slug', I rolled over ready to yell at him but NO DH. Instead, I heard a very loud roar, while the bed and the room both started to sway!
I may have never been in an earthquake before but I KNEW what was happening. I threw some clothes on over my pajamas while the room continued to sway. Then I grabbed my umbrella (Did I mention it was pouring rain?) and RAN down all nine flights of stairs to the lobby!
I had a friend who was trapped in an elevator for four hours during the Loma Prieta quake in 1989 so there was NO WAY I was getting in an elevator, though that stairwell was pretty icky. I'm just glad we weren't on the eighteenth floor.
When I reached the lobby, huffing and puffing like a steam locomotive, I saw a lot of bleary-eyed people milling about. An emergency generator was already set up to run one elevator and some lights. Staff also had turned on a battery powered radio and I listened anxiously for about ten minutes for news of death, destruction, and... a tsunami!
All I heard was that one power grid had gone down and in doing so, had triggered overloads on all the power grids so electricity was out all over the island. Also, that the quake had been centered off the Big Island, not Oahu. And NO tsunami.
I couldn't quite believe that last part, and worse -- DH was still out there SWIMMING IN THE OCEAN! I walked out to the front sidewalk and peered through the sheets of rain. Finally, I decided if he didn't show up in five more minutes, I'd go looking for him. Two minutes later he walked up, towel around his shoulders, dripping wet. He headed straight for the elevator and couldn't understand why all those people were standing around in the lobby. When I mentioned THE EARTHQUAKE, he gave me a blank stare.
He hadn't felt a thing!
Luckily the only consequence of the earthquake turned out to be no power in Honolulu for thirteen hours. Inconvenient, yes. No cooked food, no air conditioning, no running water above the third floor... But in the grand scheme of things, it wasn't that bad! We spent most of the day sitting on the lanai of the Hawaiian Princess hotel, which was right on the beach and had a lovely breeze.
I give the highest kudos to the Honolulu police, who were out directing traffic within 30 minutes of the quake knocking out the power. Officers were stationed at every traffic light down the length of Waikiki, and they stayed until the power came back on at 8 P.M. As the electricity was restored to each high rise hotel along Waikiki, a cheer went up from the patrons inside. Ours was no exception.
By the time we flew home on Tuesday morning, everything on Oahu (the airport, the roadways, the tourist attractions) was running as smoothly as it had been before the quake hit.
So there you have my earthquake tale, now it's your turn: Did you feel the quake this week? Have you been in another earthquake? If not, do you have a 'wild weather' experience you can share?