So I guess you'd all like to hear the story of our first encounter of a natural disaster? Me and George had just had a nice evening updating the blog and going freerunning and were ready to go to bed at about 10pm. We got ourseleves settled and snugged up in bed when our Peruvian friends ran into our dorm shouting and panicing. This woke me up, so I popped my head around the corner and Luis shouted "Tsunami! Japan had earthquake and a tsunami is coming!" At first, I thought he was drunk or something and George was still sleepy so we weren't sure what was going on. But my organized head kicked in and I thought "If they're right, then we need to get our stuff and go." So George woke up and we started to pack our things away. The Peruvians were already packing their many suitcases in a panic and I could feel myself getting more and more worried as more people started rushing around outside and word started to spread. But we kept a level head and knew we had to get to higher ground. Once we were packed, we picked up a room mate called Aurial who was flustered and scared and we went down to reception where the hostel owners told us that yes, there was a tsunami coming and they were evacuating the hostel. George asked where we would be safe, and they said we needed to head about 10 minutes north. So we decided to call our new friends Ernesto and Fred and see if they knew about the warnings and if they knew what we could do. They said they would come pick us up and we could stay with them for as long as we needed. We were so relieved! So we helped Aurial get her stuff together and showed her the way to the local elementery school which was letting people in and we waited for our friends to get us.
They were going to meet us by Starbucks which was right by the beach and I felt quite scared standing so close to the sea. But this was at 11pm and people were still having drinks in the bars down the street. The tsunami wasn't scheduled for another 4 hours.
When Ernesto and Fred showed up, they were so chilled it was hilarious! We cruised through Waikiki, Ernesto rolling down his window to flirt with passing women, Fred just sitting there in his chilled out state. We stopped off at Safeway to get beers as Ernesto said you always need beers in a crisis! We stocked up on water too incase they turned off the mains and food incase the tsunami hit us hard. It was strange seeing everyone panic buying water and food. Especially as I was still in my pjamas, wearing a rain coat and flip flops! We eventually turned up at their flat which was high up on a hill in Punchbowl. I felt safe being so high, and we couldn't see the ocean so that calmed me down a bit too. Me and George got into our sleeping bags while Ernesto opened some beers and we drank while we watched the news.
I don't think I have ever been so scared in my life. Those first few minutes when the Peruvians told us the news were some of the most horrible minutes ever. But I'm glad we kept our heads on straight and formulated a plan. Ernesto and Fred were so kind to us, giving us their food and letting us sleep on their bed when we couldn't stay awake any longer. We are so greatful and so lucky in the people we've met. And we're so greatful and lucky the tsunami didn't cause any damage on our island. The Big Island (where Ernesto and Fred are originally from) got hit quite hard so they were worried for their home.