Earthquakes are not new to me.
Most people do not think of Oregon as earthquake country. It is. It sits on the same ring of fire that circles the Pacific coast from Japan to California.
Admittedly, I have never experienced a Japan-style quake. But I have had my share of tremors.
So, I should not have been surprised last Wednesday night when I felt a jolt while talking on Skype with a friend in Oregon. And that is all that it was. A jolt. As if the floor had moved underneath my chair.
But it was noticeable enough I told my friend: “I think we just had an earthquake here.”
And we had. I asked the members of the local message board if they had felt anything, and I got my answer with a referral to the Mexican Servicio Sismologico Nacional. It is a great site. You can find information about every earthquake in Mexico.
Here were the results of my search for September. (You may need to click on it to read the details.)
We have had six earthquakes this month. All of them small. The one I felt was only a 4.1. I completely missed the next one -- six hours later -- at 3.9. But I would have been in bed.
We have had several noticeable tremors since I moved to Melaque. When I was staying at the house on the beach, I missed most of them because the waves pounding against the shore would create enough shaking that earthquakes were impossible to notice.
But Melaque has not always been fortunate enough to experience these minor tremors. Almost exactly sixteen years ago on October 9, 1995, Melaque experienced an 8.0 earthquake.
Even though the epicenter was in the mountains east of Manzanillo, the earthquake was strong in enough in Melaque to cause a visible wave across the ground and to spawn a small tsunami. You can read more about it on TomZap.
Last April a friend of Billie’s wrote to ask about the Hotel Casa Grande -- Melaque's crown jewel. Well, crown jewel before October 1995. It tumbled apart in the quake. That is it at the top of the post.
But the photograph is not from 1995. It is how the hotel looks today.
Not unlike the property title fight that enlivened Tenicatita a year ago (and for the prior thirty years), a dispute still rages over who owns the hotel land.
The location would be great for a new hotel. But that is not going to happen until all of the parties can agree on who owns what -- or until the courts intervene. And that is not going to happen soon.
So, the hotel sits there like our own enigmatic Olmec ruin. Summing up far too well how Mexico can wear its tragic history as a burden rather than an opportunity.
Perhaps, we just need to wait for the next big earthquake to act as a physical -- and perhaps, social -- leveler.