Monday, October 20, 2008

Omar's Visit

Here's what Omar looked like on the radar last Tuesday night, as it started heading our way. We look so tiny next to such a big blob of turbulence!

I went outside and captured the cloud cover as it reached us.

We spent Wednesday preparing for the storm, our first since we moved to the Caribbean. It got windy by 8 pm, and howling by 10. I fell asleep at midnight despite what sounded like a freight train rolling past my window. When I woke up at 5 am, calm prevailed.

Some water had seeped in through windows and doors, and outside, the house was plastered with leaves, some tree branches had broken and a few shrubs had fallen over. Thankfully, that was the extent of our damage.

Thursday morning, the skies were blue and the sea was relatively calm. The biggest telltale in the water was the brown muck that would otherwise be turquoise waters in serene Salt River Bay.

I walked around the property to survey the damage and found these amazing signs of nature's resiliency: A spider web still intact despite hurricane winds.

Butterflies! Many, many butterflies hovering around a field of untouched blooming exoras.

And our population of geckos going about their business, like any old day. How did they manage it?

It turns out we were lucky here in Salt River because while Omar was becoming a major hurricane, it took a right turn and headed for the east end of the island, where it allegedly overturned every utility pole in sight. The island suffered no loss of life, but the scene at the Christiansted harbor was certainly catastrophic.

It is estimated that over 30 boats sank as they slammed into each other or into the boardwalk.

Where do you begin this kind of cleanup?

For some people their boat was their home, for others it was their livelihood.

Some images were simply surreal.

In town, some businesses tried to help pick up everyone's spirits with live music and a place to meet and regroup.

By Saturday night, most of us were exhausted from all the work of cleaning up and putting things back in their places. Our friends LeeAnn and Bryan decided it was time to let off some steam and threw a Pajama-Hookah-Karaoke party.

One day over the summer, I brought out my tiny toy-like hookah at a gathering, and it was such a hit that now we have an impressive collection of hookah pipes amongst us, all the better for trying out the endless variety of tobacco flavors: apple, melon, mint, chocolate, raspberry, champagne, coffee, coconut...

Sporting our pajamas helped everyone loosen up and try their hand at karaoke.

It was just the kind of goofy fun we all needed.

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