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Earthquake 6.4

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Woke up to a cloudy and chilly morning in Santiago and it was nearly raining outside. I wasn’t really inspired to even get out of bed because of that but equipped with mittens, a hat and an umbrella I got out. Yesterday evening my Chilean friend and I had walked along Avenue Suecia and in a nice little area called Paseo de la Villa. So I headed back to that area to take some pictures in daylight.

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Paseo de la Villa is a more expensive commercial area with stores selling clothes and jewelries and a café or two. The houses in typical English style and the cobblestoned narrow alley really stood out from the surrounding big city architecture yet a nice mixture breaking off the stressful daily life style.

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I kept on going to the financial district in Santiago with braggingly high skyscrapers reaching for the sky and you can’t help feeling kind of small compared to those skyscrapers.

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And then the rain fell. Just as the Norwegian weather website www.yr.no had forecasted… so that only proofs that the Norwegian weather website works all over the world! I have been thinking about what kind of special satellites they have access to that the Swedish SMHI obviously doesn’t? Because SMHI has more inaccurate weather forecasts than ever… so that’s why I trust www.yr.no more than anything right now. It rarely rains here in Chile and when it finally does the land is so dry that the water just flows on top and doesn’t absorb. So when cloud-bursts are expected the Chileans prepare themselves for days. Still equipped with umbrella, mittens and hat I kept on going for a while on the darn slippery sidewalks but eventually it got really cold. Homeless dogs (street dogs) are a problem here in Santiago. Even though it was bigger of a problem 10-15 years ago, they still haven’t solved the problem despite efforts. The dogs are seeking protection in the green parks among the trees and are difficult to catch. And homeless people are also visible along the streets here in Santiago.

Later that evening I went back to Costanera Center to have something to eat. I got up to the highest floor where all the restaurants are and I had just ordered my food when I heard people starting to scream around me. I turned my head around and saw people running away from the tables and I started to hear a muffled rumble. And I guess it was during that split of a second between the muffled rumble and the whole building started to shake that I realized – earthquake! The quake lasted for about 10 seconds and it was a strange experience but I was never afraid during the actual earthquake. For me it was an awesome experience since we (almost) never have earthquakes back home in Sweden and if we do have earthquakes they are so weak that you can’t feel them. But this earthquake was measured up to 6.4 at the Richter scale which is considered to be a strong earthquake. For the Chilean people earthquakes are part of their daily life so most of them acted calm, placed themselves in doorways, near pillars or stronger structures just as you should during a quake. The people sitting at the tables were running away from there because – as I noticed later – it was glass roof over that area… so no wonder why they were running away.

When everything had calmed down and I had gotten my food I couldn’t help myself starting to think about all “what if” situations. I was lucky to be in one of the most new-built buildings in Santiago built to manage earthquakes. But what if I had been in an elevator or stuck in a long car tunnel somewhere? Or even worse, in the subway? Then I would probably have panicking more than I was up here at the top of Costanera Center.
Later that evening Michelangelo and I together with our mutual Chilean friend went out for joined dinner at Eladio Restaurant. It got pretty late that evening and we didn’t get home until after midnight.

Posted by bejjan 16:00 Archived in Chile Tagged cities

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