Most Casual Kitchen readers know that Laura and I are here in Santiago to spend a few months improving our Spanish, and this post is just a quick, off-topic update to alert family and friends that we are safe and sound after last night's earthquake. It was one of the most surreal and frightening experiences we've ever had, and suffice it to say we expected to come to Santiago, Chile to learn Spanish, not to learn what it's like to experience a 7+ Richter magnitude earthquake at 3:30 in the morning.
A few words about the city of Santiago and how it weathered the quake. In our neighborhood of Providencia, there is little to no apparent damage to any of the buildings. The buildings and the city in general are made very well, and in our homestay host's home--other than a lot of broken plates and dishware (and the somewhat creepy fact that both the stove and refrigerator came unmoored and moved 2-3 feet across the kitchen floor)--there is surprisingly little damage.
But during the worst of the quake, we had no idea what to do. It was nearly impossible to stand up without holding onto something, and the main quake seemed to go on forever, accompanied by the sound of things falling and glass breaking throughout our homestay host's home.
Now, some 8 hours after the initial main tremor, there are still periodic aftershocks, a few of them disconcertingly strong. What's more disconcerting is how the ground has been vibrating, constantly, ever so slightly, for hours. It feels alive, for lack of a better word.
We are very lucky that Santiago is one of the most modern cities in the western hemisphere, but other cities in the country were not so lucky. Concepcion, for example, where a friend of ours lives, suffered much more damage and we are still awaiting word from her.
Right now, the city is quiet and except for the ground occasionally vibrating, you'd think it was a typical Saturday morning. The power is on, internet is on and the phones are working.
We'll share more on the situation here as things develop.
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