Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Shake, Rattle and Aloha

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? Wrong. DH has never been in a major earthquake, and the only one I was ever in happened when I was six-months-old. 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 where we live it is easy to find inexpensive deals to Hawaii. Such was the case last October when a travel agency we've used before offered a 5 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.

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 and 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 and RAN down nine flights of stairs to the lobby! I had a friend who was trapped in an elevator for 4 hours during the Loma Prieta quake 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 there were a lot of bleary-eyed people milling about, and an emergency generator already set up to run one elevator and some lights. Staff also had set up 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 pouring rain. 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!

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