Thursday, April 14, 2005


by Kristin

I experienced an earthquake here. I was on the third floor of a building, in a coffee shop, with my friend Lisa. All of a sudden we noticed that we were moving. From that point on everything went very surreal. She asked me if I felt the moving. I said yes and we simultaneously looked under our table (as if to find some sort of answer from that?!). Then, it seemed like it stopped.

I got up from the table still feeling a bit dazed but not really focusing on what had just happened. When I got up from the table, the shaking got stronger. I noticed lamps, that were hanging from the ceiling, really starting to rock back and forth. Then, I felt the building start swaying!!! I started to panic. All I could think about was how a department store in Seoul, Korea had suddenly collapsed, while I had been living there. The only explanation had been the poor construction of it.

Well, I still didn't realize what was going on. I just thought that the building was about to collapse. Lisa was still sitting down. I told her we needed to get out of the building, that I thought it was going to collapse. She told me she wasn't going anywhere. In that split moment of feeling like I was in a drugged state as well as trying to figure out what was going on and what I should do, I found myself leaning over a railing as I started getting dizzy and feeling like I was going to throw up.

The building was still swaying, the lamps were still rocking and people were stopped dead in their tracks. Then it was over. That's when the realization hit me...we had been in an earthquake. We were so shocked and out of it...yet we were kind of excited! We went down and back outside to join our Indian friends for the zoo.

They had of course felt the quake outside. They also saw the building, we had just come from, swaying from side to side. Apparently earthquakes are common here. Therefore, the Japanese construct their buildings to sway in a quake and therefore absorb the shock. I have to say that I felt a bit nauseous for a good part of the remainder of the day.

I had thought this was my first earthquake. However, A.J. later told me that we had experienced one in the Japanese Embassy in Bangkok (back in January). We were there getting our visas for Japan when we felt our building shake (this one shook as opposed to swaying). We were on the 9th floor. Once again, I had no idea what was going on. It happened twice and was much less significant than what I experienced here. I didn't think much of it. Apparently he was told later that it was aftershock from the tsunami. He had just neglected to tell me until this earthquake here made him think of it.

I don't know what's going on with this side of the world. You may have heard that Indonesia had a massive quake about a week or so ago. Well, people in Bangkok felt it. In fact, they thought it was going to create another tsunami. On that note (I'm getting dizzy just thinking about that building swaying) I'm going to send this.


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