Friday, March 11, 2011

As if life wasn't exciting enough...

Yikes, there was too much excitement around here today! Craziness. Poor Tokyo. The terrible earthquake and tsunami did not cause such devastating effects down here in Okinawa, thank goodness. We didn't feel the earthquake. We did however have a tsunami warning.

I was out running errands off base, meandering the aisles of a Japanese grocery store, when a friend sent me a text message asking if I heard the sirens? I told her I had not, that I was off base. I took that as a sign that it was time to high tail it back to base and see what's happening. As soon as I left the store I saw the rush hour traffic worse than usual and could see the Japanese police closing down the beaches and making announcements on loud speakers. It took me quite a while to go the short distance to my usual gate only to find that it was closed. Annoying. That gate is never closed, well, until there is a tsunami apparently. That gate just so happens to be in a low lying area and apart of the evacuated areas on base.

So, I got back into the traffic and headed further down to another gate, which was open, but an MP just inside the gate directed me away from my building and told me I couldn't go home. I had to go to high ground. I was directed to the movie theatre parking lot where hoards of other evacuees were already camped out. People had grills going, tossing the football and laying on blankets on the grass. I was not excited about this party. I wanted my hedgie at home. I was hungry, but thankful I had the food I just bought at the Japanese store with me. It wasn't too bad, this first half hour. I walked around a bit, I sat and watched the sun set, played with my iPhone and ate my favorite Hi Chew candies. Of course, this tsunami made me think about the last time I experienced my first tsunami warning a little over a year ago. Pretty much the same feelings of helplessness, minus the resort atmosphere and my husband this time.
The waiting continued. A movie was scheduled to play at the theatre and since it was getting dark and cold I decided to go ahead and watch Fighter since I was at the theatre anyway. I figured that by the time the movie ended the tsunami warning would be long gone. Nope. The movie ended, the warning was still in place. I went back to my car, my iPhone was dead. I had nothing to do or read to pass the time... except eat. So I walked over to the Exchange which they ever so nicely happened to keep open for us. I bought the biggest magazine I could find, Vogue, and went back to my car to pass the time. I ate my Japanese snacks, wishing I hadn't missed lunch and dinner, and read my magazine. I now want to go shoe shopping in the worst way.

At around 10pm they made the announcement that we could go home, but that we are still in a tsunami advisory and that we should be ready to evacuate again if anything should happen. So, I'm home now. Gojou is in my lap, napping after I spoiled him with his favorite foods and I'm making all kinds of promises to him about never leaving him again.

There are reports that the west side of the island (facing China) only had small variations in ocean height. Two buoy readings suggest a 6 foot wave off Yomitan village. Buoy readings off Hedo point inferred a 12 foot wave height.

Thankfully everything is ok here, and hopefully they continue that way. My thoughts and prayers are with the people up in mainland.

1 comment:

tootie said...

I was thinking of you and so glad everything is ok there!!