This post is also available in: Spanish
Just as we had our tremor in Napa, California, I got this letter from Isabel who is in Chile visiting her parents:
The latest earthquake, (6.4) hit near Santiago when I was with a friend in the tiny elevator of my parent’s old building. The building suffered some damage in the 2010 earthquake, one of the biggest ever recorded, that also provoked a spectacular tsunami. The building is a little slanted, just a little, but enough to alter the alignment of the elevator. Imagine the scene: no electricity, pitch dark and we, stuck in the elevator screaming for help, while it rattled against the walls with terrible noise. It was like being inside a tolling bell. In the meantime, my parents – 94 and 98 years old – were alone in their apartment in total darkness. Chileans keep calm in geological catastrophes, I think they even enjoy them. Nobody panics, everybody helps… we love drama! My parents held hands and prayed, while all the males in the building volunteered to rescue us. There is no emergency device for this prehistoric elevator, so they had to move it manually from the top and finally, when it reached the fourth floor, they could open the door a foot or so. It was high, but we crawled out and fell in the strong arms of our heroes. All this was achieved in only half an hour with one flashlight and two candles. Now I take the stairs. This is my workout: eight floors up and down the stairs several times a day.