Friday, February 12, 2010


Cyclone Rene is expected to hit the island around midnight tonight. Right now the heavy rain and winds are coming in waves that last a few minutes at a time and then disappear. I think they must be the outer arms of the storm waving over the island. It's incredibly weird to be waiting the storm out instead of evacuating, which is the first rule for hurricane survival nearly everywhere else in the world.

I was hoping to blog the whole way through the storm and maybe even provide CNN with more awesome footage, but it seems that ASPA, the territorial power company, is expected to turn off power to most of the island in a few hours, due to the generators requiring someone to stay outside to maintain them. Perhaps I should be using this last hour or so of electricity to cook dinner, but hey.

The hurricane has claimed its first (indirect) fatality. A maintenance worker slipped and fell off of the wet roof of an apartment building while attempting to fix something up there.
Not just any maintenance worker, but my friend Jamie Gulapa. And not just any apartment building, but this one. He was such a friendly guy, always got the jobs done (even the really difficult ones like fixing my air conditioning when I first got here, which required him finding about a trillion different replacement parts), and was always willing to help me get inside whenever I was dumb enough to get my keys lost, stolen or locked inside. It's hard to believe he's gone so suddenly like that. Worst of all, he was the sole income earner for his wife and two kids.

Before work this morning I was in my kitchen eating breakfast and listening to hurricane coverage on the radio via Channel 13 (a slideshow-like channel that I run that carries 93 KHJ as its audio feed) I saw someone climb up onto the roof via my balcony and didn't think much of it, seeing as Jamie and a few others had been working on the roof just a few weeks ago and that's how they got up there. I continued getting ready for work, leaving the kitchen to go shower. It was really eerie to learn I had been on of the last people to see him alive. Even more eerie was what greeted me on my balcony when I came home this evening.

Also, I guess this means he was up there without shoes on. Wonder if that was a factor.

His shoes. And I thought it was surreal to see his car sitting in the parking lot, knowing that it's owner had died.

I'm also kind of glad I hadn't asked him to board up my windows, or I'd be thinking I was the reason he was up there.

In other developments, I'm about as ready for this storm as I can be (minus the windows thing I just mentioned). I even bought and filled a five-gallon water container. I made one last trip to KS Mart on my way back from work today and got all of the remaining essentials: Matches, candles, fresh fruit, and, of course, beer. I also looked around for an affordable battery-operated radio, but I couldn't find one.

KS Mart clearly wasn't thinking of emergencies when they put together their selection of candles. But I'll tell you what, if you're in the market for eensy scented candles, or oversize three-wick Christmas candles (complete with holly), that's the place to go. I ended up buying two candles in glass jars with Spanish-language labels of Catholic saints on them.

I'd like to take this moment to thank my sister for sending me a case of AA batteries as part of her Christmas presents. Anna, I don't really know what you intended them for, but as it turns out, I have a battery-operated radio after all: my portable CD player that happens to have an FM radio, last used right before I got an iPod nearly four years ago. Thanks, Anna!

Anyway, time to try and microwave some Bagel Bites before the power is cut off.
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