Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Escape from Certain Dinner

One night at the hotel, in the midst of a deep discussion about what we were about to have for dinner, a fellow guest approached bearing that exciting phrase just brimming with possibilities: 'So have you heard the news?'. The news concerned the 7.7 tectonic rearrangement that had just struck off the coast of Lima. The really meaty cut was that there was a possibility of a tsunami making its way up the coast to shove a boot into our humble, flimsily constructed town.

The discussion disregarding the value of alerts from American geological departments and the need to find higher ground (and skip dinner) was put to a stop by the other two guests who arrived and simply asked: 'where are you going?’ Apparently the entire town was in a state of unabashed panic; restaurants were closing and people fleeing hotels without paying to be the first in line to pay four times the usual price to be taken to the nearest city. The fact that Guyaquil is a coastal city, and the entire road to Guyaquil follows the coast was seemingly unimportant.

Anyway, we decided to simply walk up the 60 metre high headland (59 more metres above sea level than our beachside hotel room), which had a nice view over the town and oblivion should the tsunami do it's thing. By nine o'clock we were safely clifftop, perched between a large crucifix and a massive church shaped like a giant boat. Word came that if it was to come, the tsunami would be here by midnight. We waited, our nerves calmed by the soothing rhythms of the German guy's laptop emitting tinny eurodance90'spartytechno.

Midnight came and the town was spared disaster. We made our way back to find a nearly empty town, completely devoid of all food-serving lifeforms, except for the pizzeria hidden around the corner. MontaƱita was safe, and we had dinner after all, feeling very lucky that we had left Lima two weeks ago.

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