Earthquake!

About 3 hours ago:

(Reuters) – An earthquake with a magnitude of 7.8 struck China’s Sichuan province on Monday, less than 100 km (60 miles) from the provincial capital of Chengdu, the U.S. Geological Survey said on its Web site.

The tremor, centered 92 km northwest of Chengdu, was felt as far away as Beijing and Shanghai, where office buildings swayed with the impact.

Also, report on BBC was felt as far away as Bangkok.

I was on the 5th floor of an office building, in the middle of teaching a private English lesson, when the room started to move. My student said “What is that?” I thought a moment, then replied, “Earthquake.” He suggested we sit under the table, and I didn’t object.

I wasn’t sure, you see; I never expected to feel one in Chengdu. I lived in L.A. for 15 years, where we felt them all the time. This one was different, though – it went on for an eternity, at least 90 seconds, maybe even 2 mintes. That’s long by earthquake standards.

We evacuated the building, when it stopped moving, passing fallen plaster and cracked walls on the way down the stairs. Outside, the entire city had begun to congregate on the sidewalks and edges of the streets. Traffic was building up to an almost-L.A. intensity. I finally got on a bus to go home, driving through streets that looked like the world’s largest block party. People were taking it all in stride, chatting amiably.

Back at the campus, rumors were rife. Teachers had been asked to stay outside, since another earthquake was “expected” at 7 pm. This made no sense; we felt some small aftershocks, but you can’t predict an earthquake. The entire student body was outdoors; further rumor had it that they wouldn’t be allowed into their dorms all night (!). The dining halls were closed, as well as the neighborhood restaurants. My dinner was some instant noodles with scrambled egg and black bean sauce.

Oooooooooooooh the building is shaking again. It’s gentle like a lullabye (or an aftershock). Xiao Gou Gou just came into the room to seek safety. If this is the final line I ever write, it’s been nice knowing all of you. Toodles.

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One response to “Earthquake!

  1. I found your blog today while searching for blogs in Chengdu. It’s great, I like the pictures a lot. I taught in China for a year (in Changsha) and am coming back next year. I am trying to decide between Beijing or Chengdu. It’s difficult. I look forward to reading more. Keep up the good work!

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