A few years ago, we slept through a typhoon in Kyoto, Japan; and now we’re faced with an earthquake in Ecuador.
We were having our last dinner on board the ship, a grand finale to our week-long visit to the Galapagos Islands, when our guide, Ivan, interrupted with an announcement. An earthquake had struck the mainland in coastal Ecuador twenty minutes earlier, and we were under orders, as were all ships in the harbor, to head out to the open ocean in case of a tsunami. Minutes later we heard the anchor coming up and the ship was underway.
Our ship docked at the island of San Cristobal the next morning, and we flew on to Guayaquil, the largest city in Ecuador and near the coast. We heard that roads were damaged, and on the drive in from the airport saw buildings cordoned off with huge cracks. A bridge had collapsed. In Ecuador, more than 400 have died and perhaps thousands have been injured. The country has mobilized to aid the hardest hit coastal communities. Donations centers have been set up around the country.
Our travel plan had been to hop on a bus the next day to head up the coast to spend a month at the Spanish Language School in Canoa. Now, with the earthquake, that area of the coast had been devastated and in a state of emergency. We came to understand after watching the TV coverage that a trip to Canoa was not going to happen for us.
Clearly it was time for a reassessment.
Rule #1: Don’t live in fear of what’s ahead. No matter where we are and what we do, there are risks. Traveling to other places has its risks but so does staying home. (For example, a friend warned us of potential earthquake dangers in both California and Oregon. Don’t spend time there, he said. He was so worried about those places that he forgot to mention Ecuador!)
Rule #2: Be flexible. Expectations sometimes need to be adjusted as well as plans. That’s true whether you’re home or abroad.
In less than one day, we had new plans formulated, researched, and confirmed.
To be continued … but before going forward, we’ll start with going back in our next posts to our Galapagos Islands’ trip.