Just another day in Paradise…until it wasn’t!
The early summer evening was a typical Saturday. We had decided to walk into Crucita to the Genoa Restaurant to have pizza. We walked down our dried mud road holding hands with our heads down,eyes glued on our feet as we carefully took each step, since the road looked like an old-fashion washboard. We were holding hands first because we like to and second to balance each other as we maneuvered the uneven ruts. Along the road we met an Ecuadorian family who stopped us and told us how much he loved seeing us old folks still holding hands. We chuckled as we walked on. We continued on the restaurant to eat. We had just finished our dinner, when I felt shaking under my feet. I asked Leo if he was doing it with his feet, since he gets restless in his legs after sitting a while, but he did not even answer, when the real shake began.
We stood up in an effort to leave, but the shaking did not allow us to move, but we could only hold on to the door jam. A pause in the shaking came and the waitress started pulling us toward the Malecon running along the beach. We just got across the road and the road began to shake. The waitress and we tried to stay upright. The large light poles were like dancing ballerinas bending and swaying in unison. Who knew those concrete poles were so flexible? Finally after 1 minute it stopped. As soon as it stopped, the whole area went dark, like someone had just thrown a gigantic light switch. We were kind of dazed and just stood there motionless and not talking, then we looked around and then thoughts seemed to come. First, thanks to God we were OK, then now what? This was a very scary moment when you realize what had just happened.Leo said let’s walk home. I did not really want to walk down our road in the dark. The hill that runs on the East side of the road is covered with vegetation and who knows what crawls out of there at night and in the dark I would not be able to see much. Well,what choice did I have.
As we walked the 4 blocks to our street, we saw many people heading in the same direction. When we got to our street, everyone was walking in the opposite direction. I asked Leo to ask where they were going. They said to La Loma, the hill to the east beside us. I said, let’s not go home and go straight to La Loma. About then we were at the tall white condos where we saw John and Adine who live there. We asked if they were going to La Loma and they said yes. We asked if we could go along, so we did. We were so thankful to them for taking us, since the reality of me climbing that steep incline was slim to none. We stayed on La Loma for several hours. It was quite crowded there. One car had on his car radio and everyone gathered around to hear the news. The stations were reporting everything they heard without checking, so information changed through time. Leo who can speak Spanish kept us updated on information.
About 11:00 PM we left the hill because it was said that the earthquake was from deep down in the earth, so the chance of a tsunami was not possible. Not sure how reliable that was, but most Ecuadorians stayed on the hill. It was actually quite a sight to see the people coming up the hill on their motorcycles. One guy had an IV hanging from a contraption attached to his bike. Others had double mattresses balanced on their heads as they drove up. It is amazing what you can do when you have to. What was great was that the tuk tuks came up the hill full of people and the fishing trucks that have a huge back end for carrying fish, were full of people, so everyone was being helpful to others.
When we arrived home we were happy to see our two dogs were safe and they were happy to see us. They had been outside in the yard. We looked at the house to see if it was intact, which it was. We entered the house and saw very little problems, just hairline cracks. Of course, closets and drawers were on the floor. We swept up glass and then went to bed. We must have been very tired, because apparently, we has slept through 3 aftershocks according to our neighbors who hit the street for each one.
Communication was horrible so we had no idea what had happened elsewhere, even though we knew Crucita had not taken the brunt of the destruction. Mostly we were left with the unknown. Would we have electricity, water, internet service, cell phone service anytime in the near future? Services like that are iffy on a good day, what should we expect now?