Sunday, February 28, 2010

Who needs walls?

My boyfriend's brother has come to live with us for now because of earthquake damage to his apartment, until he either finds a new house or decides he wants to move back into the old one after they fix it. We are trying to convince him not to move back into the old one, because after taking a look at it, its very obviously unsafe.
This is the same apartment I mentioned that set fire while Angel and I were in it a few years ago. I really think that the events, and resulting water and structural damage, have really done the place in and it would be best not to chance it for when the next test comes along.

We arrived at his apartment to pick up some clothes, and of course first noticed how filthy it was. There were crumbles of the walls and ceiling everywhere! Not to mention all the furniture was on its side. The far side of the apartment has three bedrooms lined up evenly, each with a window heading out back to a light shaft area. The wall that stretches through the entire back wall of all three windows had been almost entirely detached from the rest of the house. Knowing how people try to cut corners here, there is NO WAY that the owners would responsably fix a huge structural problem like this. Most likely they would just put "pasta muro" (wall paste? whats that stuff called in English, where you can cover up holes from nails and chips on the wall?) on and call it good as new.

Here's a couple pictures from each room. One room also has crazy floorboards that bounce now.


Marmo said...

Me alegra saber que estás bien y no les pasó nada. Nuestro departamento en Santiago se sacudió como un cascabel, pero asombrosamente no tuvo daños.

Natalie said...

Oh my goodness, those cracks don't look good at all. Surely they'll condemn the building?

Polyfiller, I think is the word you want for the stuff that fills in cracks. It doesn't bear thinking about...

Sara said...

Def don't move back into that until some serious repairs have been made. Thanks for posting that Lydia. We have been worried about friends and L.'s family in Valpo. Everyone is okay, but we didn't know that at first.

dregonzrob said...

Is it pollyfiller or plaster? Anyway, either one, it won't do the job needed. That place is SO UNSAFE!!

I hope he opts to find a new one ...

lydia said...

i think my house is old enough that its already an expert at wobbling around, handled it like a pro. though angel swore he thought the walls were going to fall and was trying to hold one up haha.

his brothers house is just not safe. were trying to convince him to move, which might be difficult in the moment, and one always hopes that the houseowner will provide some amazing solution...

they just told me his cousins house on the same street is worse. she also has to move

Mia said...

i just wanna convince my son in Santiago just to move back to safer ground - like back home to the good old USA and his mamas house.

But he's 24, newly married and a one month old son - not likely :(

My first Earthquake

In June, I posted this:
" However, there are three natural disasters I feel terrified of and trapped by in Valparaiso: Attacking from below, the earthquake; from above, a landslide; and from the side and most frightening to me, the tsunami.
Sure these things may not be especially likely, in fact I took a geology course studying them at the university that ended a couple weeks before I indefinitely moved to Chile, but it didn't really calm my fears much.
Haha, poor professor...the only student not bored and/or asleep is ready to have a panic attack over the material.
But seriously... I'm doomed! I live in a crumbly house halfway up a steep hill on the coast! "

I knew I wasn't freaking out for nothing! My house is on the side of a steep hill, and it is far from new...

Last night I couldn't find my pjs and gave up and slept in my underwear. Everything else was out of my control, but this little tidbit was my major mistake in the whole ordeal. We were in bed sleeping when everything started to shake and the house was making the most terrifying noises. It lasted, what I calculated to be approximately, forever. I ended up staying in bed, where I felt relatively safe and out of harms way, partially because I think I was afraid we were going to have to run outside dressed as I was. When the ground finally stopped shaking, I felt like it took an eternity to gather things I thought I would need and we went outside. My neighbor was screaming bloody murder because she only has one arm and was shaking too much to get the gate open and she was trapped in an alley between tall buildings.
We must have stood in the doorway for a long time because my brothers boyfriend showed up at our door. He had been in a bar in the center when the earthquake hit. Everybody inside wanted out, as light fixtures were starting to fall and the place filled up with dust and dirt, and everybody outside wanted back in because the cables were breaking and sending sparks. We eventually went across the street to a friend's house and hung around outside until her boyfriend and roommates arrived with more stories of the flooding, collapsed buildings, rebellion and looting taking place in the center of Valparaiso.

We spent the night outside until the full moon disappeared. During the rest of the morning as we tried to make up for lost sleep (wearing more street-appropriate pjs), small quivers in the ground sent us bolting out of bed. Completely unsure of how big the earthquake really was (outside we had a discussion about if everybody thought it was even big enough to call an earthquake) I got up in the morning to try to figure out if I should still plan on doing the activities I had committed to for the day. But we had no electricity or internet, and I had no money on my phone to make calls. I also didn't have hardly any real money to make purchases because my first task of the day had been to go to the ATM, which obviously wasn't going to work without electricity.

Eventually my boyfriend woke up in the late afternoon and we went for a walk to scope out the city. Most of the flooding and debris had been cleaned up, but there were a few buildings and houses with a lot damage. I was surprised at how normal the city looked, and although everything was closed because we were without electricity, there were many people that seemed to be going about their normal business.

Being Valpo, we ended up running into many friends during the day just by chance, and everybody we know and have heard from is OK so far. However we weren't able to use the phones much all day so that doesn't say much. I wasn't even able to get a message through that I was OK to anybody in the US until 8 or 9pm. I'm sure they'd been freaking out all day. We recently got internet and electricity back shortly after midnight, nearly a full day after the earthquake. Now that we can finally see the news, it looks terrifying! It seems those in Santiago were lucky enough to have been connected all day.

[edit: I have learned that two friends who were traveling south in the area where the center of the earthquake was are missing. We're hoping it's only the result of poor communication]
The only bad news I've heard among friends so far has been structural.Apparently, the walls came down at a friend's house, the one with the amazing view I posted pictures from before.

Also, one disaster seems to have been enough for my boyfriends old place, where his brother and cousin still live. I posted about my experience when the building set on fire while we were in it almost 3 years ago, but apparently it wasn't able to stick it through this one, as the ceilings and walls were collapsing and my boyfriends brother's going to come live with us for now.

Here are some pictures I took from our walk in the city, which luckily represent the relatively few and far between, though they say there is a lot more damage to the inside of the houses.


Fned said...

WOW!! So glad you're ok! The pictures look quite impressive and even a little scary. I'm sorry about your BIL's place. I hope things get back to normal soon for y'all. Keep safe!


dregonzrob said...

Hi Lydia,
So glad you're ok... first earthquakes are scary enough ... but 8.8 magnitude for a first time is a NIGHTMARE. You didn't mention if anything major (structurally speaking) happened to your house ... I hope not!!
Hopefully things will return to "normal" relatively soon, at least in the cities up north ...

lydia said...

I just learned that 2 friends traveling near concepcion are still missing, though I really hope its just because of poor communication.

Well keep in mind I took and posted pictures of the places with more damage, the majority of everything looks normal. They say many places have damage inside that you can't see though.

Our house is fine, surprisingly. It passed the test.
I think the earthquake did a number on my nerves, though.

Lou said...

Glad to hear you[re okay! I hope your friends are okay too and that they are able to communicate with their families soon. It's horrible not being able to communicate with people at a time like this and not knowing if they're okay! My friend who lives in Canada, who also has a Chilean boyfriend, couldn't communicate with her pololo all day and he was travelling down South near the epicenter. She was an absolute wreak.

How are the houses in Valparaiso way up in the hills? I always imagined that if an earthquake were to hit, those things would fall apart in seconds since they all appear to be just hanging off cliffs and a lot are poorly built.

Natalie said...

Glad you're OK.
Sorry to hear about your brother in law's house, and I really hope you hear from your friends soon.

All good here, although being on the 11th floor was scary, the building moved round quite a lot...

Vina seems to have come off fine, mostly glass and plaster damage, although there are a few condemned buildings on San Martin, older ones. It was pretty calm here yesterday, we even went to the market on the Marga-Marga to do our weekly shop. Didn't know what else to do...

Mia said...

wow - yes, glad you're ok. I was just browsing blogs - my son lives in Santiago and they got power on last night. Scary!!!

lydia said...

Lou that must be traumatizing. I wasn't able to talk to my parents until night time the day afterwards. My cell phone was working but I hadn't received a call so I figured they must either not be worried (maybe thinking I'd be far enough away to not be affected) or they just don't know theres been an earthquake. So my phone message was like
"hi mom, dad. Um... I dunno if you've seen it on the news or anything but there was an earthquake here. We're ok."
My parents said it was the most insane thing they've heard because they had been watching the news, trying to contact the embasy, getting phone calls from the most random people all day (sisters friend in switzerland, a church pastor that remembered i told him 3 years ago i was in chile). Something to laugh about now, i guess.

I haven't gone up the hills to check the situation out. I normally don't go too far up anyway because its not always a great place for a gringa with a camera. I'm assuming there are a number of houses with major problems. But its not like there has been an obvious landslide or anything.

Natalie thanks, glad to hear you were alright. i didnt have any money on my phone to contact anybody. i bet being on the 11th floor was freaky. well at least you know the apt passed the ultimate test!

Mia- glad he's ok. its been kinda crazy here!

Annje said...

Glad to hear you are alright. The after-shocks must be a bit un-nerving!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Convencion de Malabarismo - Chillan

A few friends have mentioned that they enjoy hearing and seeing photos from, or someday going to a lot of the random and out of the ordinary stuff I run around doing while I'm not working translating, teaching, with the study abroad programs or ...trying to become famous in commercials. In fact, even a couple of my bosses have started suggesting all the neat festivals they see in the media or even hooking me up with interesting opportunities (one of my bosses almost got me a temporary thing with the Amazing Race recently!)

Anyway, I figured our trip South to Chillan for another Convencion de Malabarismo was a big enough event to merit another post of this sort, with a little more detail than I included last time (the linked post to a similar conve in Los Andes) of what these are all about.

In a nutshell, attending a conve is pretty much like having a drunken Cirque du Soleil themed slumber party for you and a couple hundred of your closest street performers.

We took off on Thursday and bussed to Chillan, a surprisingly nice city pretty close to Concepcion. We got there in the middle of the night and walked to the location, which is usually a school or gym like this one where everybody sets up tents. There are probably about 90some tents in this picture.

Attending the convention for a weekend usually costs between $5,000 - $10,000 (I've heard Pucon charges $25,000) and includes all the workshops and shows and one or two meals per day. Lots of people complain about the prices which are practically less than you'd spend if you were sitting around at your own house, or...squat, perhaps. (I'm slightly kidding, most people would probably be surprised that a large number of people who do these activities are actually integrated into mainstream society, pursuing degrees in [any noun] engineering, etc...).

At night there are usually various shows and presentations to watch which are performed by the more experienced attendees and those that are teaching the workshops. In Conception there was a show for the public in the town center one night, a concert in a theater, a show of performances, and a fire/lights show.

The workshops and art forms practiced and displayed usually are clown/payaso, mime, juggling, swing, unicycle, trapeze, diabolo, chinese pole, tela (this time aro and cinta), mano a mano, hand balancing, acrobatics, various types of dance, and some other randoms that show up depending on the interests of the people attending. There is always something new to me going on.

This guy was my favorite show humor wise:

Another crazy clown:

As far as aerial, this girl was super talented at trapeze and flexible:

My half orange, kicking ass in the varieté:

Fun-looking aro duo:

Really amazing performer doing an impressive routine in tela/silks:

Jugging light up pins, though I'm not big on psychedelic photos unless there's a neat there isnt, particularily, here:

I personally don't participate in the majority of the activities, but rather just do my thing as paparazzo and hang out. OK, I wont lie, I usually sneak away to the tent to finally get a little sleep, as going to bed at night tends to be a little like trying to get some shut eye in the middle of a disco, yet with plastic pins and stuff flying everywhere. I was especially bummed that even a megaphone announcing the makeup and clown nose workshop did not wake me from my nap, because when I showed up near the end, it looked especially awesome:

They brought in a great band, Mano Ajena, and there were crowd-surfers that were barely old enough to attend kindergarden:

All in all it was a great weekend and I saw and did lots of neat stuff. Next time I'm bringing earplugs.

P.s. I thought the bus we took from Valparaiso to Chillan was uncomfortable, but I don't think my transportation will ever again sink lower than this, which they used to take 50-60 of us per load. No windows. No air. Nothing to cling on to. Crazy driver.... scary.


Marmo said...

I didn´t know all of this could happen in Chile. Maybe my gf is right and Temuco is really boring =(

Lou said...

Cool photos! Looks like a good time!

Kyle said...

Your life is so much more interesting than anyone else's that I know.

lydia said...

marmo- i dont think its temuco, i think its just being in on and aware of the activities that go on that you might never hear about otherwise. this is probably an example...i dont think chillan really has a cultural edge on temuco

thanks lou. it was but im worrrrn out now!

pssh kyle hahhaha... you say that between traveling europe, cruising down the amazon, and getting written up in the papers.... and you're impressed i camped in a small town gym floor for a few nights? just let me know when you wanna swap :)