The forces of nature

Hoi An Travel Blog

 › entry 16 of 45 › view all entries
November 12, 2007 was propably the most crazy dy I had on this trip so far. They woke us up at 5am, with the only message; "evacuate". What happened... Due to a typhoon passing the south of Vietnam, the rain went on so hard the night before, our rooms were close to being flooded. The hallway was already filled with water, and the waterlevel was rising fast. Take our stuff and move upstairs asap was the only option. We were trapped in the hotel, as the streets were already filled with water up to 1 meter. The only thing we could do was take a look outside and watch the water rise 5 to 10 meters more every hour. Havy rains making the picture of the typhoon complete. The shops, as Hoi An is famous for its tailors started to get filled with water more every second.
A human drama happening in every house here, but still they didn't loose the smile on their face. The only ones that got upset were the tourists that wanted to know; Can we leave tomorrow? What will the weather be like tomorrow? We booked a tour, can we get a refund? Is lunch ready? It's amazing to see where the values of people are different in the spoiled countries. It seems to me that when your used tu your luxuries lifestyle, although many people don't seem to realise they have this, there's a lot more to loose when nature calls. (Excuse the expression, I just wanted to use it.) After lunch the level of the water seemed to stabilise at the point right before it would enter the hotel lobby. The lobby being 1,6 meter higher than the street...the water had rose up 1,5 meters in the street.
A hallucinant sight for me, seeing the streets really filled with water. A strong streaming of the water. Rescue boats in what had been the streets only 12 hours ago. Rescue boats being rown by human beings. Strong human beings, but still sometimes they couldn't win the struggle with the tough streaming of the water. While rowing forward, sometimes the boats just floated backwarts. In the afternoon the raining stopped for a while, and even the sun came out for a moment. At once the reception was stormed again with people asking the same intelligent questions as before, propably thinking the water would be gone in a few hours. Scary to see, how some people really don't seem to have any knowledge about forces of nature anymore. Nature showing once again that it is much more powerful than humans.
That was the beauty about the whole occasion, for me. Around noon the power in the hotel got shut off, because of safety. When at 5 pm they lighted some of the lobby lights again, my thoughts were; when will the rush to the internetroom start. It took like 10 seconds, before the first people went to try the internet, coming back heads down because that part of the power wasn't switched on again. I wonder why people are so eager to check their e-mails at that time, although most of the people would propably try to find a reliable weather report on the web. A job that turned out to nothing in the morning. But you never know...maybe these few hours the content of the web had changed drastic. It turns out that it's hard to make a good weather report one typhoons, tunderstorms, or any other force of nature, because I think it all sticks to speculation. You can read the forecast, but when it turns out different, which happens more than once, where does that leave you. Propably in the US you can sue someone for it, but in most countries... Another remarcable thing to see was how the people struggling to get families out of their houses, people trying to save their belongings from the water, became like monkeys in the zoo for the tourists safe in their hotel. Every camera made more pictures as it was used to make in a week when people passed by in a boat, walking arms up in the water, carrying their valuables above their head. I do camera made a lot of shots too. The level of the water never exceeded the hight of the lobby, and when we woke up the next day, after going to sleep in heavy rains, the street level of the water had gone down to 25 cm. People were trying to go away from Hoi An asap, walking their first 30 minutes through the water, not knowing what the situation would be further on the road. People really seem to panick when nature shows its power. But does it make them realise the power of nature? Propably most of them forget as soon as they return to the safe neighbourhoods, or when they're at home, back in their luxurious flats, houses, leading a good lifestyle, still complaning how hard it is for them. For me this past day was a wonderful experience, seeing the beauty of the forces of nature, as well as feeling helpless seeing so much damege being done to so many people. It makes me think even more about how lucky and fortunate I am. I'm propably not going to be happy every day, and I will complain every now and again, but still...I won't forget and that will help me see things in perspective whenever I need it.
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