Sunday, January 07, 2018

September 21, 2017, Thursday, morning, home

 Thursday, September 21

Once we knew the horses were safe and secure, we backtracked through the maze of wires, trees and poles to find our house. 

At one point we had to switch over to the eastbound lane of Highway 2, a four-lane divided highway, without any warning to the on-coming eastbound traffic. The westbound lanes were completely blocked for over a mile by fallen trees.

We turned onto the road that we hoped would take us down the hill and home. Given all we had seen we weren't sure the road would be passable.

Our friends Scott and Miguel who weathered the hurricane at Villa Montaña, went out early with a chainsaw and carved a path down the hill. It was a path, barely passable, but we could get through.

Driving slowly down the hill was surreal. It was like being in some apocalyptic alternate reality. It was our hill but it wasn't. Trees were stripped bare, exposing parts of the cliff walls we've never seen. Uprooted trees tumbled into the quebrada. Debris jammed against the edges where the raging flood waters piled them.

When we reached the bottom of the hill, wires blocked the entrance to our little road. We parked at the abandoned restaurant just down the road and walked back to the house. As we rounded the curve, I saw white roof! And blue walls! Our house was still standing!

There is some damage but relatively minor, especially compared to some wooden houses that were totally destroyed. Our fence is completely gone. The three traveler palms blew over. The big almond tree in the back lost some branches. A big tree next to the bar deck was uprooted and fell over.

We are so incredibly lucky. Except for one branch that hit a corner of the bar deck roof, all of the trees fell away from the house and bar. The smaller (but still huge) almond tree across the street suffered very little damage. The coconut palm by the bar deck still has coconuts/

There is mud, lots of mud. The flood waters reached into the kitchen area, into the prep room, into the laundry room. The high water mark on the bar is more than two feet high. There is mud on the bar deck and in the bar restrooms. The mud is thick and it stinks. It is silt that washed down from up above where the cattle farms are. So it is mud infused with cow manure.

The winds blew off the shutter to the big window on the main floor. Rain blew in but didn't cause much real damage. We did find sand and seaweed on the second floor.

If there was a surprise in all the damage, it was really how little damage there actually was to our property. In our limited travels we already saw houses completely destroyed. Ours was still intact. In dire need of cleaning, but intact.

The other surprise was the orchid on the tree next to the bar. Not only did it survive, it thrived/ It was an incredible bit of beauty amid the wreckage.

No comments: