Sunday, August 12, 2007

The Earth moves... again

AOG, Madrid

When I was a child, we lived in Mexico City for a few years. Mexico is a country where earthquakes and tremors occur with astounding regularity. Eventually you get used to them....sort of.

I remember my first one. We were then living in a hotel in the Zona Rosa (the Pink zone, Mexico city’s gay neighborhood…and we are talking the late 70s here, how’s that for forward thinking?).

It was early in the morning and I woke up because I could hear the hotel’s walls creak. It was a very odd sound. My mother got up and asked us if we were ok, and to be still. We were, and we did.

I remember I could see the wall see-saw and got a bit scared. Our hotel had about 10 stories, and we lived in the first floor at the time. I remember thinking that if the building collapsed, we were toast.

Then suddenly, it stopped. Within minutes, reception called asking if we were alright. We were. I never forget that first encounter with mother earth.

2 0 0 7

Today, many moons later, the earth shook once again. I woke up this morning with a headache (for some reason, in my family, whenever storms or tremors happen, we get headaches…or so we believe. It could be we get them anyhow, and then things happen?), and within 4 minutes of me just sitting in bed pondering the future of mankind and where my next job will come from, the walls began making a funny sound.

Then my bed was shaking. Not a lot, but enough to freak me out a bit. Then a few things on the edge of my bookshelf fell down. I looked over at the bottle of water I keep by the alarm clock, and the water was moving side to side. I was not imagining it, the earth was trembling. Here I was, living once again in a gay neighborhood (Chueca), and the earth was moving- though this time I live in a studio on the 4th floor, and not in a hotel on the part is the same though.

The funny thing is, time moved very slowly. I got up and bolted for the nearest door frame, and stood there for a few seconds (Earthquake Safety 101). Then it all stopped. All was calm again.

I switched the television on, and nothing. No news. Radio, nothing. I began to wonder if I had imagined the whole thing. The news were not picking the story up. I then got into one of my mental tirades. “I swear to God if this country ever gets bombed we won’t find out until the next day!!

Eventually, an hour and 15 minutes later, CNN+ (Spain’s CNN), reports that a small earthquake of around 5.1 on the Richter scale, struck the peninsula and that its epicentre had been on the province of Ciudad Real, South of Madrid.

I haven’t felt an earthquake since I was maybe…10 or 11 years old. Never felt an earthquake in Texas, or London. And I come to Spain, and I am greeted with one.

I wonder what else I haven’t experienced in years I’m about to experience again….

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