mlah The “culture” that has evolved here isn’t conducive to sissies

October 26, 2005

Wilma Went!

Filed under: Misc — mlah @ 2:06 pm

forgive me if this is scattered. i have pics and will post them as i can. they’re in my phone and i have to get them into my computer first.

sunday night.

the wind slowly picked up steam. i’m in a hotel and my room faces a little courtyard with the pool. third floor. i was up pretty much all sunday night watching the storm roll in.

the palm trees were going nuts in the courtyard. and it was PROTECTED in the courtyad. no way was i going out looking for a picture of the outside. i heard that there were 100 mph wins in miami. with gusts of 115. i think the eyewall passed around 10 miles north of me.

monday:

around 6 am power started taking hits. it was just a few hits at first. then we would lose power for 10-15 seconds. power would come back on for around 3 minutes. repeat.

i didn’t like it, so i unplugged my cellphone, laptop, and turned off the news. anything electric i turned off. i didn’t like the prospect of a short forcing my to evacuate the building out into the parking lot, and the 100 mph winds.

i finally started to dose off around 7. i woke up again 11.

the wind was dieing down. but mlah’s official “I”witness weather reading was that it was officially ‘windy’. then i realized the power was out. i figured it would be back on shortly. i watched a little bit of a movie on my laptop to burn a little time.

my work called me from virginia to make sure i was alive and to check on my coworkers. i played phone tag for a bit trying to track people down.

everybody’s good. well, as good as they can be.

power stayed out. i ate some sandwiches and some fruit. drank hot coke. and a lot of water.

eventually i ventured down to the lobby because there was a huge congragtion of people. lots of guests. the hotel cooked some food. turns out they were cooking it to keep it from spoiling. they had no intention of giving us any. i think they realized they were in for some impromptu looting of freshly grilled hamburger/salisbury steaks. so they gave us some.

that was the highlight of my monday.

i have this little cheesy pen that chien left me. it has some watch batteries in it and has a green neon light on the end. this was my flashlight. at sundown, the halls bacame pitch black. this is when i realized the power was a little worse off than usual.

i couldn’t sleep after having been up the entire night before and catnappin g off and on all day.

the only book i had was ‘zen garden, css stylesheets.’ which i have read in it’s entirety. by candlelight.

i had the forethought to buy a candle. i got one of those jesus candles that the catholics buy at the grocery store. the tall skinny cheap glass candles with jesus, or the virgin mary pictured on the side? those LAST!

i heard many a guest complaining that the hotel didn’t have candles for them. i just grinned at my fortune.

pretty sad huh? reading by candlelight, and i was the fortuneate one.

tuesday.

miami dade curfew at 8. broward at 7

my job is closed. the building i work in, with no windows, is running on a generator. limited power, limited lights. limited personnel. buh bye.

driving i saw trees down all over the place. i saw one functioning traffic light. one traffic light was flashing red. all of the others i saw were just off. which made driving in lunatic miami even more dangerous. people don’t stop for red lights here anyway. out of the frying pan into the fire!

when in rome……

some guy in a mercedes yelled puta madre at me. he showed me a knife. i showed him my finger as i rolled through the intersection in my belluetproof toyota avalon rental. a mercedes. like he really wanted to hit me.

yes you chica. in the white 350z convertable driving in two lanes at 20mph. you are the one i squooze by, then pulled in front of. in both lanes as i slowed down. puta madre again? estas la puta.

that was about all of my driving excitment. there are cops everywhere at the intersections.

i think it’s a bad thing to be a black belt in a rental in a town with mayhem for driving. i OWNED the road.why is that past tense? i still do! plus, i have a full tank of gas! you idiots didn’t fill up ahead of the storm? and i don’t even live in hurracne alley. get a brain. losers.

i started talking with my supervisor about trying to get out of here. the airport was closed so i was thinking about driving up to tampa, or orlando. somewhere to catch a plane. or just driving. the prospect of being without power for the week was really weighing on me. and i’m hanging out doing nothing. reading stylsheets.

he is in cuba and had seen the news. i had not. he told me there was no gas in central florida. and all kinds of psycho crime was going on. he wanted me to stay put. he didn’t want me to get carjacked for my gas just as i entered alligator alley.

that was a good point. so i stayed.

cellphones started dieing. people were frantic as they were losing the only contact to the outer world. not just the phones were running out of power. cell phone towers apparently draw power from the same power grid. when they lose power they have individual battery backups. cell phone towers were running out of juice too. so even if we charged our phones….. there was no signal. maybe one bar. we had no tv. no news. no newspaper. no internet. no phones. and now, no cellphones either.

food. tuesday, i had a bagel for breakfast, ate the last of my fruit and sandwich stuff. (remainder is spoiled) and i was SAVED! there was one lonely restaurant open on 87. all of restaurant row was closed down except for 1 place. they had no power and were accepting cash only. they had pulled all of their tables out of the store and into the parking lot. they had one generator they were using to heat their grill and fryers. hooters was selling wings and beer! that was dinner. they were the worst lukewarm wings i’ve ever had……and i savored every one of them. the same girl waited on me.

funny how girls are. no power means a cold shower. girls would rather go unwashed… and it’s fairly obvious, than to take an ice shower. shrinkage ensued, but i’m clean at least.

miami airport reopened some in the evening. there were a lot of pilots for various latin amercian airlines staying in the hotel. in the evening they all started going to the airport and flying out. i spoke to one crew. the were from chile.

another late night with my jesus candle. reading stylesheets. (css) the halls in the hotel are like playing doom. pitch black. just waiting for someone to jump out.

wednesday.

same curfew.

bagel for breakfast again. no power. no power at work. traffic is the same except that now it is REALLY psycho. there are loads of people out and about looking for gas, food, whatever. same lights worked. all of the others are still off. i have literally seen a line for gas over 1 mile long.

BUT!, the stores outside of dolphin mall had power. there was no going into the mall, but i was able to go to borders and buy a paperback. 8 bucks?! holy crap. when did novels get so expensive? writers are way overpaid.

i have permission to bag miami and book, if i get the chance. so i’ve been staking out the security office at work to try and swap my credentials……. so i am stuck here. at least til tomorrow. i am supposed to fly out friday originally. i’ve heard the airport is a zoo.

today. wednesday at 1:31. the power came back on. al hamdu li lah! (ALHMD LL?)

i’m charging my laptop, and my phone. the tv works but there is no satelite/cable signal. so it is effectively still out. most of miami is still without power, so dinner will be rough tonight. but i know there is at least one restaurant open…….

and i have internet!

2 Comments »

  1. Brother, I love you, but having been through a major hurricane, I TOLD you to get reading material. There’s nothing else to do! It’s like being at sea; find food, sleep, read.

    Drive home now… Take your renta car and charge it to the company. I have a guy here, who’s wife is REALLY sick, and he can’t get a flight due to the backlog. GO!

    But don’t forget to tip your waitress.

    Comment by mark — October 26, 2005 @ 10:39 pm

  2. dude, that is some scary shit…. I’m glad you’re ok!!!

    Comment by CT — October 28, 2005 @ 7:34 pm

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