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Published: March 12th 2011
17:30 we are at the Palm Bay Bistro – a worried waitress – there had been an earth quake in Japan. We order our dinner. Next time she passes by: there is a tsunami coming at 18:30. They turn their TV to a local channel. There is a Tsunami warning – all Palauan on coastal areas are to go to higher grounds. And it is a bit later - at 19:25 that it is coming. We had arrived back an hour ago from Carp island – an isolated island 1 hour away by speed boat. Thinking if we would have had the information if we had strayed there today. The staff are obviously nervous. The restaurant is right at the harbor with the serving area over the water. We quickly finish our dinner and halfway run to the hotel where we stayed before going to Carp. Shops were closing down and people were entering the back of pickup trucks to go to higher grounds. Sirens are sounding every now and then to tell people to turn on their TV or radio. We had asked the hotel if we could go with their airport bus for the evening flight to Manila, and
it was OK. They were obviously also nervous, but they have 5 stories, and were going to the higher floors. The bus should leave in 10 minutes (18:30) leaving us time to get to the main land where the airport is before the tsunami. I updated my Facebook status, waiting. 18:35 no bus. The staff had called for the bus several times, and gave up and put us and other tourists in their two vans. A quick mail to my mother that we were on our way now, and an update saying the same (didn’t get updated though, anxious friends). The capital, Koror, is on a small island and we had to get across a long bridge to be safe. Going through the city is slooooow, many people are traveling. 40 minutes left. The traffic eases up, many cars stop uphill in town, no need to leave Koror entirely. The children and very uneasy. Anders is talking all the time about the tsunami and if we can see it soon, his way of reacting, by talking. Johanne is not saying anything, but clutching our hands hard. We cross the bridge and we are safe. We all ease up and the
airport seems normal. We talk to some other tourists that say that at their hotel restaurant everybody were still sitting at the restaurant and their hotel was not doing anything. Guess it always will be this way that situations are handled differently.
18:35. Tsunami. Maybe. We are on the way to Manila in the Philippines and back to the first world going to South Korea in the night.
Thinking of what would have happened if it had been 5 hours earlier when we were doing a 3 hour kayaking tour, just the four of us to a small beach in the rock islands of Koror. The water was wonderful and turquoise with a beautiful sky. We all enjoyed paddling to a nearby island and being there all alone, just our family, swimming and snorkeling. The last day of summer and swimming, since we were going to Korea and spring temperatures. The tide was high and we just had a few meters of beach on the island. What if the tsunami had hit here?
The tsunami did not come. It went mainly east of Japan towards the American coasts. But it could have. We all remember the 2004 tsunami, where also
many Danes died in Thailand. Thank you, all who cares and prayed for us and we think of those that were in the wrong place in Japan. Now we’ll see how it is in Japan in a week.
Read my full story from Palau and Peleliu
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