We had another big storm this week! It seems that these storms are what define summer here. The days are gorgeous with blue sky and big white fluffy clouds, followed in the late afternoon by big purple and gray ones!
Then, of course, around 3 a.m. the storms hit.
This week it was terrible again. A friend who lives down the hill from us -- a retired school principle from the East Coast in the United States, named Carol, went to bed as per usual.
The next morning she heard someone knocking at her door early and could not figure who it would be. So she went out and it answered the door. It was her next door neighbor who told her about the terrible storm the night before which Carol had not even heard at all.
The neighbor gently asked Carol if she was aware of the tree in her yard. So Carol turned to look at the huge pine tree that used to be there only to see the tree was totally uprooted, it had crashed through her perimeter wall, and came down on top if the neighbors van, fell across the street and hit two more cars and on the way down took out part of the roof on two houses across the street. Everyone affected was without electricity and had rather significant damage to their property --- except Carol.
When she asked them when it happened, they told her it was around 2:30 in the morning. "Why didn't you come and tell me?" asked Carol. "Because you were sleeping and we didn't want to wake you!" they replied.
Carol lives in a house surrounded by Mexicans. As many of her neighbors as could, including the children, were out that whole day with the police, the fire department, and their chainsaws, cleaning up her yard, cleaning up the street, bringing her food (remember she was the only one with electricity), and generally overall caring for the situation.
Because the neighbors who lived right next door didn't have car insurance, their parked van that the tree hit first was pretty damaged. Carol found out how much it would cost to get it fixed and then paid them the money.
They repeatedly told her she didn't need to do it, but she did it anyway! Carol said that only in Mexico would everyone come together like that and help her. Where she had lived in the States, it wasn't community. It was just people who didn't know each other living in close proximity. We all know it's not like that everywhere in the States, but it seems to be more like that for sure.
There is something so wonderful about the normal Mexican and the normal Mexican community that warms your heart. They are the dearest people and care so much about "the other" and they come together and help each other out when the going gets rough!
I'm so glad to be a part of this place and to see the caring that goes on with them. They are awesome.
You've never experienced a rain storm until you've lived in a tropical or semi-tropical location! I just imagine it is probably similar to the storms that those who live in the middle and Southern United States experience when their region is inundated with a tropical storm. Again that darn word "tropical".
Our home is two story. We sleep on the second floor. The roof of our house is made of plywood sitting across huge, and very strong, metal beams and cross-beams. The outside is painted with a heavy sealer paint of some kind and that's it. The inside has the exposed beams and the bottom side of the plywood pieces.
When it rains and thunders and lightenings here -- it feels like it's right in the room with us. In fact, some nights we actually go downstairs because the noise is deafening! It's sort of fun and a lot scarey! Last week on Wednesday night we had the most vicious of all the storms we've had since we moved here.
We went to bed about 10 pm. All of a sudden, there was a huge flash of lightening and simultaneously crash of thunder and simultaneously a sound like I've never heard before of wind and water crashing about us. It was terrifically frightening. We had no idea if the roof would come off or raise up (it did neither), of if there was some kind of terrible thing happening outside. We grabbed our pillows and ran downstairs. As we did, we noticed that there was a waterfall running down the stairs and running down the walls, and moving its way across the living room.
Then we noticed that water was coming in at all the sliding glass doors as well. I ran to the part of the living room where the electronics were --- modem, backup battery, surge protectors, and the water was literally 6 inches or so from hitting all of them. I grabbed my office chair with one hand and moved it within reach of the whole bunch of electronics and saved the night.
The next morning when I went to Operation Feed to work, I found out that even the most stalwart Mexicans and seasoned expats were really frightened too. It was an unusual storm and, to them, sounded like the time when a huge water spout formed in the lake and chose to wander up through the Raquet Club and up the side of the mountain causing a massive land slide that came down and took out a few houses and parts of houses as it tore down the path of least resistance --- the main drag.
That gave us pause to think about living at the foot of a mountain! We no longer live in the Raquet Club, but then found out that the landslide was so big it went right into the town where we live.
To be honest, that particular scenario happened after a particularly heavy rain season where everything was totally saturated with water. When the water spout cyclone formed and came up into the neighborhood, every place it went had no defense against the deluge of water that a spout carries with it. I have learned a lot about water spouts. I never knew they could form on a lake the size of our lake here.
Though this is the largest freshwater lake in Mexico, it doesn't begin to compare with the Great Lakes in Michigan, nor with the Ocean as in Uruguay and Brazil and along the extensive shores on either side of Mexicos land mass.
So where can a person live where there is not going to be a weather anomaly. Kris and I and my sister have had long talks about this, just for those of you who worry about either us or other friends who live in places with lots of contrary weather activities.
Here is our conclusion: if you pay attention to what's happening globally, you will notice that without exception, every single place on earth (just about) is having a weather anomaly. The once-in-100-year events are now happening in 1, 10, 15, 20, 50 years instead of sticking to the once-in-100 or once-in-1000 years timetable.
So, really there is no totally safe place on earth. Mother Earth is doing her thing. The best thing to do is to take precautions as best you can before you experience an event. Have a little extra food and water set by. Be sure your flashlights have batteries. Make sure you never let your gas tank go below half.
Example: Buy a couple of jars of peanut butter or some other butter, a box of Saltines, a couple of 5-gallon jugs of water, and maybe some canned tuna or sardines, or other canned food. Not a lot, but just enough to stave off "starvation" for 3 days or so. In Michigan, we always had tons of food stored away in a little room in the basement, because we never knew when we might lose power for several days because of blizzards.
But we practice pretty much the same thing here only on a smaller scale. Even with that massive and very frightening storm last week, we didn't lose power. Some people did, but it was restored by the end of the day. They've got this recovery from storms thing down to a fine science here in Lakeside.
The bottom line of living in a "safe" place is to choose your location after you know what's possible. Here, there are two volcanoes --- one is about 75 miles south of us and would have to come through a mountain range. The other is about 60 miles north of us and would have to come through an even higher mountain range.
However, the fact that there are vacation hotsprings throughout this area leads us to believe that something lies beneath us that heats that water! Hmmm maybe our location is more active than we knew. Meanwhile, and considering how long the Mexicans of this region have lived here, (at least 2000 years!) I think we'll enjoy the "attractions" as much as possible.
(The prices in the advert below are in Mexican pesos! Divide the figure by 19.5 and you'll have the cost in dollars.)