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Mawar Mayhem

Our beautiful beach a week before the storm

I just came in from sitting outside watching the violent waves pummel my bay.  The beautiful beach I walk on daily has turned from a tropical paradise with plumeria, coconuts and jungle right up to the turquoise water to a barren vat of debris, rocks and shredded fauna.  The water is still blue but it’s tainted with black silt and mutilated tree and building bits viciously torn from their foundation.  The jungle that is everywhere on this island is shredded to a scene from the apocalypse.   Our paradise has been plucked bare and is as sad and ugly as a featherless bird.  The chickens are still in hiding; I hope they made it.

We saw a drowned rat in the debris, so the animals fared as poorly as the plants.

I don’t know when I’ll get to post this (internet, along with everything else, is down), but we are in our third day of wind and rain from Ms. Mawar the super typhoon.   Her outer bands reached us on Tuesday, but it was Wednesday that was the worst.  Today it’s still gray with rain and wind gusts that previously I would have called ‘big ones.’  Now, I know they are nothing compared to Mother Nature’s fury when she’s on a roll.

Our building rocked and swayed while she punched and whipped it with her 140 plus MPH winds.  And she did this for about 8 hours.  Prior to the 140 she bitch slapped our little island all day long with constant wind and powerful gusts.  The rain, oh my goodness the rain, was horizontal, and it bore right through our sealed windows and doors. 

There’s a lot of buzz that surrounds the whole idea of a typhoon heading your way.  For those of us who have never lived through this kind of storm, it’s exciting.  We run out to the store, stock up our adult bevies and food —- and drinking water, lots of drinking water.  We fill up our bathtubs because seasoned folk tell us to, and we button down the hatches —- learning that those metal typhoon shutters we normally ignore are not so easy to close and lock in place. 

In my case, since my husband is out of town, I buddied up with my neighbors on the 7th floor.  We have a lot of fun together and never hesitate to turn anything into a party.  So whoop whoop Typhoon party time.  Tuesday night we ate a feast (that we spent Tuesday making) played games and drank enough to sleep through the pesky outer band winds and rain.  We also packed up a goody bag to bring to the weather station, since one of us works there and he was going to be there until today.  We giggled at how wild and crazy we were taking a field trip during a typhoon —- the outer bands, my friends, are not a proper typhoon.  They are the fun but non memorable aperitif.

And then on the drive home, we heard the report of just how monstrous our reason for a party was going to be.  It didn’t damper our mood, but we each snuck off to send our loved ones the messages you send when you’re not so sure you know what you’re in for —- and then we continued to do what we do best.

Wednesday we made fun typhoon-themed cocktails and sat outside (in a concrete corner that protected us from the winds) to cheer on branches snapping off (in hindsight we were the gladiator spectators, but we didn’t know it at the time).   And, we witnessed this (my fellow species isn’t the brightest on the planet)…

Keep in mind we were having gusts up to 75 mph at this point lol and then he swept his balcony off. Sadly the drainage pipe to the left of him did not make it.

We got to toast other neighbors (above is in another complex) also stepping outside to feel the wind, and, overall, we had ourselves a great time.  When the winds and rain got too strong, we went inside and watched Twister because is there a better movie to watch during the ultimate twister (and our generator was working great at that point)?

The winds got stronger; the noise was unbearable, feeling the floor sway beneath us was unsettling, but we kept each other in good spirits.  Each of us had our doubts and secretly prayed the building would hold, but we did not fail our companions by focusing on what could happen. We told our stories and embraced our moments of quiet.   When our generator went out, we lit candles and enjoyed the ambience despite the banshee pounding on the shutters, and the loud bangs of things falling apart.  We went to bed early —- really just hoping to sleep the storm away —- but Mawar made sure we heard her tantrums.   The news told us the eye wall finally returned to sea around 2:30 a.m. but the winds were feisty long past that —- we’re still getting gusts of it now.

You can google to see better pics; I just don’t have great cell service right now. One day I’ll post more.

And, now we sit in the aftermath.  My neighbors and I are incredibly lucky.  Our building is built the way a building in the Ring of Fire and Typhoon Alley should be built —- it’s tough and while I don’t like it swaying, I do know that’s what I want it to do.  It’s built to move so that it doesn’t break.  I like this. We also have a generator that keeps us and our food chilled.  Our apartments got wet (I lost two rugs), and one of my friends lost an entire railing from her balcony, but we are unscathed.   Those are minor things that will be replaced. Our cars also made it without injury.  Too many on this island will not be as lucky.  And, while, we will all pull together to rebuild and help each other, it will take us weeks, maybe months, to repair what one three-day storm has done.  

I want to end with something pithy, but all I can come up with is, pay attention people.  Mother Nature is a bad-ass bitch and we are all but fleas on her back.  Embrace the good she gives and do your best to keep out of her wrath.  And thank all the powers that be for the friends we make in this world —- they help make the ugly beautiful.  

p.s. it’s Friday and I hotspotted my phone. screw my data plan… please forgive any typos, since I copy and pasted and uploaded as quickly as I could.

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