|zeborah (zeborah) wrote,|
@ 2011-02-24 05:35 pm UTC
Photos at Flickr.
Tuesday I was at work at the uni; things started quaking and I moved very gracefully under my desk. Eventually it stopped shaking and we evacuated. Students were pretty calm. A couple minor cuts from glass. While waiting around to keep people from going back inside (having dashed inside ourselves for our bags...) we witnessed a motorcycle accident; those involved got immediate first aid and seemed okay when a handy policeman drove them away (we'd called for an ambulance but... yeah, no, that wasn't happening).
My cellphone was handily out of money so I could receive texts (family safe) but not reply. Did get a message through from another friend's phone.
My first thought had been to bus home; I soon realised I might be waiting some time so decided to walk instead, but a friend had a friend who took us. A 20 minute drive to my parents' took a good two hours due to traffic. I stayed ten minutes chatting (they have no power, water, or sewerage) then
My house is one of the lucky ones in the street. There's a window broken (but the house was being painted so plastic is over all the windows anyway) and an old chimney outside my bedroom wall looks like it'll come down at some point with not much encouragement; there's also lots of cracking inside but I think (pending a qualified assessment) that it's structurally sound. Not so every third house which
What I don't have is power, water (except that in the hot water cylinder or in bottles), sewerage, or (as of Wednesday) a landline.
So I grabbed my go-bags from by the door (the bag that only a couple of days before I'd been thinking of as 'paranoid'), rearranged one slightly to suit the occasion, and hiked back to my parents' for the night. (With a lift from a stranger partway; the traffic in that direction was clearer.)
Aftershocks continue; me and my parents are very near the epicentre. Thursday's paper (even Wednesday morning I went outside for some air and there was a newspaper in the drive!) says "more than 50" but we were having 50 an hour (albeit mostly small ones) on Tuesday evening. I counted three in a minute more than once. Admittedly some are the 20-second-delayed 'echoes' of larger ones. Dinner was gas-cooked and lit by candlelight. I slept (eventually, a bit) in a sleeping bag under the kitchen table, my sisters in their own spots in the same room.
Wednesday I took my Mum's bike to my house and cleaned up the kitchen and broken window, then helped some neighbours shovelling mud out of their driveway/gutters. Biked back to parents', though walked partway since my tiredness and inexperience and the mud and the traffic and the bike being too big for me combined to reduce my confidence. (Wednesday night while drifting to sleep I had a flash-dream of my foot slipping in that mud.) Tried without success to either recharge or add money to my cellphone. Did hear from friends in a less affected suburb and phoned them via the landline. Was brave enough to sleep on the couch, slightly better than Tuesday night - the aftershocks were down to one every several minutes.
Thursday decided to visit said friends to take advantage of their internet. (I have messages from much of my family for the outside world too.) This involved a hike of about three hours. I went the first leg to my house, tidied up the books in the lounge, saw that the cat had been eating catfood until an aftershock startled her, then slathered on the sunscreen and set off. The first half or so of the journey was through devastation but eventually I got to a road where traffic was free enough (and I was tired enough) that I stuck out my thumb and hitched a ride down half of Cranford St. When the first guy dropped me off, I'd barely walked ten metres before someone else saw my pack and took me the rest of the way, up Main North Road to my friends near the Styx bridge.
(I'm missing out so many all the conversations with neighbours I barely recognise in my neighbourhood, and with strangers while hiking around.)
I now have everything recharging and internet. Actual communications that don't require a battery! I actually feel guilty for enjoying this luxury. I plan to stay the night and then tomorrow (hitch)hike back in time a century to my parents' again. There's no timeframe on the resumption of power and water, let alone sewerage. Days/weeks for power and weeks/months for water, probably.
So if you've got questions, ask them now because contact will likely be patchy after tomorrow morning. That's a request; I do want to talk more but... this is big and overwhelming and my brain is poorly functional so it'll just be easier to answer questions.
I'm making this journal my communications centre for simplicity's sake; if you can comment here rather than elsewhere it'll be easier to deal with. OpenID or anonymous are both fine.