Sunday, August 18, 2013

on the run

Wasn't it P.J. O'Rourke who said: "Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys?"

Something similar applies to earthquakes and Pacific coastal towns in Mexico.  The combination can be disastrous.  Japan has not only given us an example of what tremors and seaside folk can suffer.  They have given us a word.  Tsunami.

This part of the Mexico coast is not immune to either earthquakes or tsunamis.  The earthquake of 1995 is still legend around here.  Well, "legend" is not the right word.  It was the real deal.  An 8 magnitude earthquake.  With collapsed buildings.  And dead,as well as injured, people.

Because of that history, the state of Jalisco (where I live) implemented a rather sophisticated tsunami warning system just before I moved to Melaque. 

Each village is outfitted with a rather space age, solar-powered speaker system.  If the need arises, Big Brother announces to all of we sitting ducks that a giant wave is headed our way.  And because we are not ducks, our option will be to flee like Russian refugees in front of Napoleon's army.

One of my first posts from Melaque (the tsunamis are coming;the tsunamis are coming) told the tale of an early test of the system.  With some rather tragicomedic results.

That may be why we have heard no recent tests of the system.  At least, not while I was in residence.  I am ignoring the possibility that the whole system may have slipped into disrepair.

But the concern over tsunamis has not receded.  During the past few months evacuation signs have popped up around town.

The sign at the top of this post offers advice on which way to head if an evacuation is ordered.  And when we refugees get where we should be, we will be welcomed by this sign.  No passing go.  No collecting $200.

Before letting out for the summer, all of the schools held an evacuation drill for the students -- letting them know where they needed to go in case of a tsunami.  Even though Melaque rests on a narrow flood plain (a rather distressing adjective if you give it much thought), there are plenty of hills that should provide adequate height for the type of tsunamis that might rush through our streets. 

I have two plans.  If time is of the essence,I can climb to the patio on my roof.  That may be good enough. But I need to remember I live right on a large body of water subject to the whims of the ocean.

My secondary evacuation route is to drive up to the mirador above Melaque.  You have been up there with me in prior posts.  (wet posts

Not only would it put me above any wave -- other than a planet-destroying asteroid hit, when I will not really care how high I get.  But it would also give me an opportunity to witness just how destructive nature can be.

I was up there yesterday testing out my theory.  And it struck me how ironic it is that the major victim of the 1995 earthquake -- the luxury Melaque Hotel, that is it at the left -- still sits as a ruin on a stretch of beach that is a prime candidate for a future tidal wave.

At least, we all now have signs to guide us to safety.  When it happens.  And it undoubtedly will.

No comments: