PDA

View Full Version : Firsthand account of the earthquake


Rusty
March 2nd, 2010, 06:06 AM
NOTE: We are leaving our hotel in Santiago today to board the Star Princess at Valparaiso. What follows is a very brief summary of our experience:

What can you say about an earthquake far from home?... Not much, except you sympathize with those people who were affected. What can you say about an earthquake far from home that you were involved in?...Read on...

My wife and I were headed to Santiago to rendezvous with the Star Princess in Valaparaiso four days later. We flew out of Newark airport on February 25 during a major snowstorm on the first leg of our flight to Toronto. We arrived in Toronto and faced a three hour delay and left for Santiago, Chile at 2:30AM. We finally landed, finished with customs, picked up our bags and were on our way to our small boutique hotel in the Provedencia section of Santiago. We cheked in, then went out and had a wonderful dinner and toasted each other with these words: "We dodged a major snow storm and thank goodness we're here in Santiago!"

Fast forward...3:34AM,February 26...We were awoken by a loud thunderous sound and the bed began to shake. I thought it was a major thunderstorm. My wife, Shelley, said it must be an earthquake.The horendous loud noises, dogs barking in the street, lamps crashing to the floors, the bed moving, and car sirens blasting, was followed by an erie silence for about a minute or two.The earthquake lasted about 2 minutes.

After it stopped, Shelley sat up on the edge of the bed, while I walked to the bathroom window to look out into the street.I saw nothing--all lights were out--there was no electricity.I opened the door to our room and peeked out as others did the same. We quickly put on our clothes on in the dark(didnīt have my camera to show the various outfits people put together on such short notice!).

We left our room and gingerly walked down the stairs to the street. Some of the hotel guests had flashlights which lit our way. There was no panic from any of the guests. When we got to the street we met our fellow guests. The conversations ranged from "what happened", "is anyone hurt", to "where are the police" and "I left everything in my room". At the urging of Shelley, I went to the room to get our money, passports, etc. I didnīt have a flashlight, but used the screen light from my iTouch, to light the way.(Note to Apple: this could be a great new commercial). One the two staff members, had rushed home to check on his family and who immediately returned to the hotel, moved his car to the front of the hotel and turned on the radio so we could listen to the news reports in Spanish, as a guest translated for us.

The staff set candles, got water, and helped us in every way possible(kudos to Hotel Orly!). The guests bonded. The lights came on briefly and then went out. Nighttime turned into early morning as the aftershocks started.

The people of Santiago were tremendous. Everyone has been helpful. The city had mostly minor damage and as of yesterday, everything was back to normal--stores reopened, subways were running, people were food shopping. Santiago and us were very lucky.

Our hearts go out to others in Chile whose lives have been changed forever by the earthquake. Chile is a strong country and will rebuild.

barjolov
March 2nd, 2010, 06:57 AM
Wow Rusty - that must have been quite an experience. We found out last night that we are booked for a flight today and will arrive in Santiago tomorrow morning. Hope to see you on the ship. Do you know what the plan is now for a Meet and Greet? We sure would look forward to meeting everyone who makes it.
Barb & Norm

TorontoTL
March 2nd, 2010, 07:17 AM
Wow that must have been really frightening, especially being so far from home. Glad you two are OK. I hope the people of Chile recovers from this horrible earthquake quickly.

12Cruise
March 2nd, 2010, 07:22 AM
Thank you for your first hand account. I hope and pray for the people of Chile.

Rusty
March 2nd, 2010, 07:33 AM
Wow Rusty - that must have been quite an experience. We found out last night that we are booked for a flight today and will arrive in Santiago tomorrow morning. Hope to see you on the ship. Do you know what the plan is now for a Meet and Greet? We sure would look forward to meeting everyone who makes it.
Barb & Norm

We'll be there. It will have to be rescheduled because of the delayed time we leave. I don't think there will be that many people who are on the first leg--so many cancellations.

BTW--the Star is in port!

Clutterlady
March 2nd, 2010, 07:47 AM
Thank you for reporting in. Glad you are all safe! If you get a chance, please keep us updated.

Coolmama_1
March 2nd, 2010, 07:57 AM
Thanks for the first hand account.

AlaskaGolden
March 2nd, 2010, 08:04 AM
Thank you for the "almost live" account of your experience. It would be very interesting if someone on the cruise leaving Valpariso today (tomorrow?) could do a live thread indicating how full or empty the ship is, how people got to the ship, etc.

paul929207
March 2nd, 2010, 08:16 AM
Thanks for your report. Glad you are okay.

helpmesailaway
March 2nd, 2010, 08:28 AM
Thank you for your report - glad to hear that Santiago is recovering quickly. The people and city were so nice on our visit last year.

My heart goes out to all those in Chile and hope that the recovery goes well for the other affected areas and safe keeping for the citizens.

Colo Cruiser
March 2nd, 2010, 09:04 AM
Glad you are alright.

mmemichele
March 2nd, 2010, 09:07 AM
My son and I were in Chile in Jan prior to our cruise on Star.When we visited Valpo our guide pointed out the cliffs and precarious way some houses were perched on them I remember my thoughts then were they better never have an earthquake. At best their electric wiring left a lot to be desired ...way substandard to our safety regulations .Wires hung from everywhere and tangled masses.Our guide did tell us Valpo was on a fault line where the houses were ...OY
WHAT DOES VALPO look like now .My screensavers are pix of Valpo ...does it still look like that???/Probably notThe devastation there must be tremendous Does anyone have recent pix?
My heart goes out to all the poor people who are left homeless >I hope gov'ts step in to help
To the OP thank god you are OK .I;m not sure what you will see on your voyage ....or how bad the destuction further south is.....
Does anyone think there is a connection between Haiti's earthquake,the mudslides in Machu Pichu and now this earthquake ...HEAVEN forbid Who is next ???They seem to be on the same line ....
to the OP take care

Michele

Woobstr112G
March 2nd, 2010, 09:13 AM
NOTE: We are leaving our hotel in Santiago today to board the Star Princess at Valparaiso. What follows is a very brief summary of our experience:

What can you say about an earthquake far from home?... Not much, except you sympathize with those people who were affected. What can you say about an earthquake far from home that you were involved in?...Read on...

My wife and I were headed to Santiago to rendezvous with the Star Princess in Valaparaiso four days later. We flew out of Newark airport on February 25 during a major snowstorm on the first leg of our flight to Toronto. We arrived in Toronto and faced a three hour delay and left for Santiago, Chile at 2:30AM. We finally landed, finished with customs, picked up our bags and were on our way to our small boutique hotel in the Provedencia section of Santiago. We cheked in, then went out and had a wonderful dinner and toasted each other with these words: "We dodged a major snow storm and thank goodness we're here in Santiago!"

Fast forward...3:34AM,February 26...We were awoken by a loud thunderous sound and the bed began to shake. I thought it was a major thunderstorm. My wife, Shelley, said it must be an earthquake.The horendous loud noises, dogs barking in the street, lamps crashing to the floors, the bed moving, and car sirens blasting, was followed by an erie silence for about a minute or two.The earthquake lasted about 2 minutes.

After it stopped, Shelley sat up on the edge of the bed, while I walked to the bathroom window to look out into the street.I saw nothing--all lights were out--there was no electricity.I opened the door to our room and peeked out as others did the same. We quickly put on our clothes on in the dark(didnīt have my camera to show the various outfits people put together on such short notice!).

We left our room and gingerly walked down the stairs to the street. Some of the hotel guests had flashlights which lit our way. There was no panic from any of the guests. When we got to the street we met our fellow guests. The conversations ranged from "what happened", "is anyone hurt", to "where are the police" and "I left everything in my room". At the urging of Shelley, I went to the room to get our money, passports, etc. I didnīt have a flashlight, but used the screen light from my iTouch, to light the way.(Note to Apple: this could be a great new commercial). One the two staff members, had rushed home to check on his family and who immediately returned to the hotel, moved his car to the front of the hotel and turned on the radio so we could listen to the news reports in Spanish, as a guest translated for us.

The staff set candles, got water, and helped us in every way possible(kudos to Hotel Orly!). The guests bonded. The lights came on briefly and then went out. Nighttime turned into early morning as the aftershocks started.

The people of Santiago were tremendous. Everyone has been helpful. The city had mostly minor damage and as of yesterday, everything was back to normal--stores reopened, subways were running, people were food shopping. Santiago and us were very lucky.

Our hearts go out to others in Chile whose lives have been changed forever by the earthquake. Chile is a strong country and will rebuild.

So glad you are okay.....:):):)

Bob

Shifra
March 2nd, 2010, 10:54 AM
Wow what an experience, one which I am sure you will never forget. Thank goodness you both are ok. Nice to hear how everyone stuck together and helped each other. My heart goes out to those in the hard hit areas.

gooch47
March 2nd, 2010, 11:58 AM
Thank you so much for the report.

I've seen photos of the airport. It wasn't destroyed, but there sure was some damage. We were there on December 9. Our guide, too, talked about the huge 1960 earthquake and the building standards that are now in place.

My heart goes out to all of Chile. They are wonderful people.

stary
March 2nd, 2010, 03:15 PM
Thank you for the report, and so very happy to hear that you're ok.

dshefter
March 2nd, 2010, 04:02 PM
Great report. When I lived in California, I endured three earthquakes including the 1994 Northridge quake. They can be quite traumatic. Glad to hear you are OK. Enjoy your cruise.

2Oregonians
March 2nd, 2010, 06:19 PM
When was the Star originally scheduled to leave Valpo, and when is it actually leaving? How will they adjust the itinerary? Same amount of days, or cut it short? What about the cruise after yours?

DrivesLikeMario
March 2nd, 2010, 07:19 PM
Wow, that is one travel memory you will never forgot! Good to hear that you're alright and how helpful everyone was. Enjoy the cruise and be thankful you're there. Bon voyage! :)

themerle
March 2nd, 2010, 11:25 PM
Thanks for this report. Sorry your trip has started off rough but hope your cruise turns out to be one of your best yet.

May God be with the people of Chile.

Cruisin' Chick
March 3rd, 2010, 01:42 AM
Great report. When I lived in California, I endured three earthquakes including the 1994 Northridge quake. They can be quite traumatic. Glad to hear you are OK. Enjoy your cruise.

When I heard the magnitude, my jaw dropped. I too went through several quakes living here in California, and lived within ten miles of two ones over 6 (the 71 Sylmar and the 94 Northridge) and those were pretty darn scary. So I can't imagine what the one last weekend would be like as it would be several thousand times stronger. I remember when the Northridge one started going (I lived by the LA river at that time so we got four separate shakings rather than three) and everyone in my building grabbed something to put on (4:30 am and cold for us) -- I was just wearing a tee shirt and couldn't find the flashlight that's always by my pillow. When many of the stores finally reopened, they had photos posted of what it had looked like inside afterwards -- just about every building in the Valley had some sort of damage and any large building had collapsed beams or worse inside.

I imagine much of what was going in Chile afterwards, even for the buildings that haven't collapsed, an inspection would have to take place to make sure that there isn't foundation damage or weakening of the walls as the strong aftershocks can those buildings to fall down too. The country is more used to quakes than Haiti so the damage was due to the strength of the quake, not necessarily the building codes. A quake that size is going to do extremely major damage no matter how well built everything is (just look what happened to Kobe in 1995).

Let's keep Chile and Haiti in our thoughts as they both try to recover.

Ontario Cruiser
March 4th, 2010, 07:57 AM
Hi Rusty
Any more updates since last night's aftershock that was supposed to hit Valpariso. Are you on the ship or land? Hopefully as the Star was out at sea there was no damage. Please post if you have a chance
Ontario Cruiser