:: Life on Planet Dan-E ::

Thoughts, observations, and introspections from an art student waiter/bartender in South Beach. Arcane humor ensues.
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:: Wednesday, October 26, 2005 ::

:: Hurricane Journal ::
I've kept running journal of my time during Hurrricane Wilma and everything except the last two entries have been pasted unedited from Word.

October 24. Day 1
I just got jolted awake by a loud noise and I'm having trouble going back to sleep. Naturally, the first thing I do go to my laptop since I've decided keeping a hurricane journal might be fun. Or at the very least, something to keep me occupied if the power goes out.

There's a really strong wind whipping around and a lot of rain coming down out there. I don't know what it was exactly that just came crashing down but it must have been huge to wake me up. I mean I've slept through earthquakes for crying out loud. I'm going back to bed.

The wind is still blowing pretty strong and I think I just heard a cat fly by. Oh, and the power is out. Good thing I bought candles but there?s no TV or radio. Dammit. Walked outside to see what it was like. The wind was quite furious but that's nothing: when I looked up, I could see the clouds swirling around in the tail end of that hurricane. You probably saw how a hurricane moves on the news via a Doppler radar. Well, it?s one thing to see that whirling from a satellite image from outer space but it?s completely different to see it from underneath it while it?s passing through. It leaves you totally in awe of Mother Nature.

I stepped outside to survey the damage and it doesn?t seem too bad. At least around my apartment, the worst is just a bunch of fallen branches. I also saw a few crazy people walking/driving/riding their bikes around. I?m gonna join them. I just realized I have no cell phone reception.

Had to come back to grab my camera and take photos of all the damage. And I had to pee.

Just came in to get new batteries for my camera. (And I had to pee again.) It's kinda funny how many people are walking around surveying the damage out there. Out on Ocean Drive the wind blew a lot of the sand from the beach onto the street. Half the trees lining the center islands of Washington are blown down. Fallen trees seem to be the bulk of the damage, though it?s amazing to see the size of some of the trees that got knocked over. Property damage seems to be limited to a few blown out windows and some cars that cushioned some of the tree?s falls. It looks like all of South Beach is without electricity.

There?s still a few local convenience stores open so I walked into one to grab a Coke. Everyone else to be trying to stock up on emergency rations, which was surprising. I thought with all the hurricanes that came through in the last two months, most people would be prepared but I guess not.

Did a little more walking around and took quite a few photos of all the crap that happened yesterday. While walking around, I ran into the our school's maintenance guy. Being lucky enough to have a working radio, he said that it's not just South Beach but almost all of Miami that's without power (roughly 3.2 million customers). He said that while Miami was relatively undamaged, Ft. Lauderdale and Palm Beach/West Palm suffered a lot of damage, which kinda worried me since I have a good buddy that lives up in that area (you know who you are. Let me know you're ok as soon as you read this).

I noticed a couple of bars that are open to the public, which I thought was pretty cool. One of them is Dewey's and the place was packed. The owner probably has a couple of generators running in the back, which apparently is sufficient to keep the kitchen going.

Something I noticed while walking back; I have a pretty clear view of Downtown Miami across Biscayne Bay and at night, when all the hi-rises are lit up, it's a beautiful view. Other some minimal emergency lighting, the entire skyline is pitch black. It's a little eerie.

I wonder if the blackout in the northeast part of the United States was anything like this. I really don?t know what I?m going to do if this power outage goes for more than just a couple of days.

October 25. Day 2.
And God said, "Let there be light!" Or in this case, Florida Power and Light said that. I didn't realize I left some of the lights and the clock radio on but I've never been happier to be jolted awake. Alas, no cable/Internet. But at least my beer is gonna stay cold now.

Ok this is weird. I poked my head outside and it seems only part of the island's power is back up. Most of the hi-rise apartments on west side of the island now have power, but everything from Michigan on east is still in the dark. Not that it seems to be that much of a problem since I heard a few voice chatting and laughing.

It was cold last night. I actually had to sleep under the covers. I've been listening to the radio and it looks like Florida Power and Light is working quite fast, since there seems to be reports of power going back up every few minutes. I'm gonna go for another walk after breakfast.

Some cleanup has started, though with the amount of branches that have fallen, what used to be scattered piles of branches are now larger, somewhat neatly stacked piles of branches. Again, I've yet to see any major structural damage, fortunately. The worst I've seen is at South Beach Community Hospital, where all the windows on one side of the building were blown out. Also there were shards of glass all over the street. Thanks to the lack of power a lot of the businesses that have previously weathered hurricanes are still closed.

It's definitely fall. Except it's not your typical, muggy Miami weather. I can't remember the last time the weather down here was this cold. "Cold" being relative and all but I don?t think it got above 75 today. And the air is quite dry. It's almost like being back in L.A.

I've had the radio on all day. Earlier reports had Wilma gradually weakening as it passed through South Florida. What happened was that it grew from a category 2 to a 3 and the gusts were a lot stronger than meteorologists anticipated. We were lucky enough that it was fast moving so it could have been a lot worse.

Right now, there's always updates about places that's handing out free water and ice as well as gas stations that are open. I'm only guessing but I'm thinking the ice is for people who are throwing hurricane parties and need the ice when they whip up a Hurricane (1 oz vodka, 1/4 oz grenadine syrup, 1 oz gin, 1 oz light rum, 1/2 oz Bacardi® 151 rum, 1 oz amaretto almond liqueur, 1 oz triple sec, grapefruit juice, pineapple juice). I haven't heard much in terms of which areas were hit hardest but it seems property damage was minimal structural damage. A lot of towers had their windows blown out and trees everywhere got knocked over, which caused rumors of activists from Earth First to start picketing against Forces of Nature. Ok, I made that last part up.

Been listening to the World Series Game 3 on the radio. Color commentator Joe Morgan is someone I can barely stand on TV and on the radio he?s even worse.

Poked my head outside again to get some air and some of the surrounding blocks are still dark. I have no idea how power grids work but it?s odd how some blocks have power and some don?t. Not that I?m complaining since our block is one of the lucky ones.

October 26. Day 3.
Game 3 has gone into extra innings and it seems like I'm missing the makings of classic. I shouldn't complain 'cuz it could be a lot worse. It could be the Giants playing in the World Series again.

I don't know what it is about hurricane lockdowns and finals weeks but they seems to bring out the munchies in everyone. I ran into a few people I know and it seems I'm not the only one who stocked up on junk food and beer. In case anyone was interested: Guinness Extra Stout and Sierra Nevada Pale Ale makes a great Black and Tan. Guinness Draught and Yeungling, not so much.

It looks like all schools are closed until next Monday.

I've spent my time either sleeping, listening to the radio, talking on the phone, or walking around. Did some more walking around with my camera to see what else might be photo-worthy. Walking along Biscayne Bay, I saw a couple of cruise ships heading out. The streets seem a little cleaner and it looks like residents with chainsaws did most of the cleanup. In other news, residents of South Beach, a city far away from any sort of wilderness, own chainsaws. I'm surprisingly OK with this knowledge.

I walked by Dewey's on the way home and saw that their TV AND cable are working. I'm gonna stop by and watch Game 4. Go Astros!

Also, I saw a bunch of students from my school sitting outside of Taste Bakery even though they're closed. It seems that even though the restaurant has no power, the wireless signal is still working. I love technology.

The power suddenly went out in the middle of the game. I was gonna go home but the bartender told me that this happened earlier and the power should go back on in about 20 minutes. Lo and behold, she was right. I love how you can still get the WiFi signal from Taste over at Dewey's.

Just like she said it would, power is back and the game is on again. Pitcher's duel. Nice.

There's an 8:00pm curfew in affect through all of Miami but being as it no police have come in here to break up out little hangout, it seems to be rather loosely enforced.

I'm gonna keep this journal going until things return to normal but the next post is gonna be a series of photos I took of the surrounding area.

:: Miscellaneous Ramblings by Dan-E at 11:10 PM [+] :: | 0 comments

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