Tuesday, March 02, 2010

More Chilean Earthquake Experiences

Another day has passed and my life-after the earthquake hasn’t changed much.

I’m still suffering from intermittent Internet Withdrawal. 

Thousands of people have either partially or completely lost their homes due to this event.  Part of the damage was directly from the quake, others from the tsunami which hit the coast only minutes following the principal shock.

I mentioned in my previous post I’ve found the rapid action on the part of the government and the infrastructure very impressive on the positive side.  Some large communities are still without electric power and water, but considering the extensive damages, I feel it would be difficult to imagine any country who could do better than what Chile is doing now.

For me, and for many thousands of people the most immediate and devastating effect of this event is the simple lack of gasoline to allow one to travel about as they would normally do.

I mentioned that I escaped to a resort area, Lican Ray, because there was electricity, food and lodgings available to me.  Yesterday I went to the only gas station in town and after waiting about 1/2 hour in line, discovered that they had run out of gas.

This morning, I learned that gas had arrived, when I saw the length of the line which had already formed, I asked the manager of the station if it was worthwhile to get into line and was assured that there would be enough gas for everyone lined up so far.

After I was in line, I checked to see that I had my wallet and discovered I’d left it back at the Inn.   I asked the driver of the car behind me if he would look after my place in line and move my car forward when the line moved, and he agreed.

I walked back to the Inn and got my wife to drive me back, and she entered the end of the line about 5 cars behind where I was.   Slowly the line inched forward.

I knew before I reached the pump that sales were limited to 10,000 pesos (about 15 litres) of fuel per vehicle, but I didn’t know that they were only accepting cash.  I only had enough cash to pay for my car, but not enough to pay for my wife’s ration.

As a result when I reached the pump my car wasn’t served immediately until I got the OK from the station manager to receive my cheque to pay for both my car and my wife’s.

She OK’d my cheque and I went back to the pump to pass it to the operator.  When I arrived, the electric power was cut!

I was number one in the line and I couldn’t get gas!  We decided to keep our places until the power was resumed…the wait was over 3 hours until power was finally resumed.

In summary, not a great adventure, but it is a situation where it seems that for me, and a great number of people who I spoke with or overheard while waiting in the line for gas, we just have to remain calm, be patient and slowly work our ways back into positions and areas where we can contribute to the great reparations which are going to be needed in the country over the next few months.

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