Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Wilma, Three Days Later

[October 27, 2005]

I watched George W. Bush fly by going down the beach on his way to a meeting with members of a Baptist church relief center. Unfortunately he was out of RPG range, lol.

His chopper was followed relatively closely by a heavy lift and transport helicopter with a really shiny brown paint job and a State Department seal on the nose, which was itself flanked and followed by Blackhawks and what appeared to be gunships riding at altitude overhead.

I've seen Jeb Bush, our esteemed governor, fly by at least three times in his helicopter going up-and-down the beach to meet with different people, of course his flights were unescorted.

4:33 p.m.

the power just came back on, thankfully though I would've preferred another night without lights actually. I think I could live completely without electric lights, but I need electricity for my computer and cable.

8:30 p.m.

Lights are on in most of the local buildings, but no streetlights or peripheral lights yet working. Every night there's been a helicopter or perhaps several helicopters hovering over the darkened city, apparently keeping surveillance looking for lawbreaking. I've never seen a helicopter hover all night in one place, that's rather unusual even for blackout conditions.

Still no air-conditioning, but thankfully the temperatures are still in the 70s though the humidity is rising.

We'll probably have our telephone back within a day or two. That's the advantage of living on the beach in Florida, some places won't be getting their telephone, electricity or water service restored for weeks, but here on the beach almost everything is running again. Doubtless restaurants along the beach will be open by the weekend. I'll be thankful for that.

I'm reading a book, the only newer one I had around, Tim Parks', Medici Money. So far I'm not impressed.

Wilma, Two Days Later

October 26, 2005, 7 a.m. two days after Wilma

Thankfully the weather is perfect here, we get maybe 30 days out of the year that are this perfect, light breeze, low humidity, cool temperatures, 75°F yesterday, about 55°F last night.

I really appreciate the nights without the city lights. It's pretty close to being out in the country or up in the mountains where there's no light pollution. Most people living in the city don't really get to see the night sky. I watched Mars rise over the ocean last night and it's reflection on the water was strong and visible, like the moon. It's nice to know there's other planets out there.

So along that line I had my celestial binoculars scanning the sky for different sites, I got to see dozens of things I never see living here.

In a very real way this has turned into a vacation for me, something I haven't had in years. The day goes by slow and easy, with lots of time to think, or not think about anything. That's what a real vacation is supposed to be isn't it, when you don't have to think about anything?

Of course I'm concerned with the basics, water, food, light but at least those are tangible real concerns as opposed to the plethora of ridiculous concerns usually filling my head. I rather like the idea of being isolated and cut off, even though physically I'm not. But I'm not being constantly inundated and bombarded with a sea of media, Internet, telephone, human interaction etc. I've had those things so long I guess I forgot what it's like to do without them. My cell phone is still working at least for out-of-state calls. But I told everybody not to call me unless they were in dire need of moral support.

Even when we get the power back, I won't be able to charge my phone, since my phone charger got melted, I guess from the water that came in the house before the power cut, or perhaps something else happened. I could go on the Internet through my phone, but that's okay, I don't need to check my e-mail that bad, and I don't even know if I can make a connection.

There is a kind of bliss in being uninformed. I watch the local news on a battery-operated TV because there's nothing else on, everything else has been preempted except the World Series. Go Sox!

Since just a few hours after the storm I've watched dozens of military helicopters fly by, presumably National Guard, mostly at a distance to the west. I've seen lots of news helicopters, but just a few Coast Guard helicopters. Not much work for search and rescue thankfully.

The beaches are now officially closed, the hotel next door shut down even though they had about 40% capacity provided mostly by surfers looking for waves right after the storm, but they're gone now.

It's interesting. without electric light relying mostly on candles, my body has quickly adapted to a non-nocturnal cycle. Usually I'm up all night and sleep all day. That's been the norm for me most of my adult life, but suddenly I'm up automatically just before dawn, and start getting sleepy as the sun goes down. I didn't even watch the World Series last night.

I've often read things about the disruption of the circadian rhythms (sleep cycles), I guess there's something to that stuff.

Last I heard 3.4 million people across South Florida were without power. ABC news through local channel 10 is saying that power is being restored to some places. I did see FP&L trucks rolling slowly by a couple of times early this morning.

At this point I'm looking forward to more days without power, at least one more night so I can do more stargazing.

Water and ice distribution seem to be taking place now. I noticed trucks on the news down in Homestead early this morning, I'm wondering why they aren't using military transport planes to fly in needed supplies to local airports, even the old Homestead Air Force Base, instead of trying to truck things in from Jacksonville, that's ridiculous.

After Andrew I noticed these transport jets continually flying in and out from MIA (Miami international Airport) Opa Locka Airport and the former Homestead Air Force Base.

850,000 without power according to channel 10, gas is hard to find, better have cash if you want some. Yesterday most cities were without water completely, though here in Pompano we've had continuous if extremely low water pressure. Today they say some cities have had their water completely restored, but most of the county is still under a boil water order.