29 March 2005 - Eric
Banda Aceh, Sumatra, Indonesia

Over coffee this morning, everybody was laughing about last night’s quake and how
it felt about the same as the big tsunami quake three months ago. Unlike then,
people were very scared this time. They were scared that another tsunami would roll
in and if one did there wouldn’t be so many buildings and cars to resist it. Things
are back to normal here in Aceh though some areas of Nias Island sustained heavy
damage and initial reports say a few thousand people have died.

I was sitting at the desk in the middle of typing a line when it started. I figured I’d
finish the line and see if she didn’t just pass. Well, she didn’t just pass, and was
really not a she at all but a big son of a bitch that went on for about two minutes. I got
up, but not too fast as it was difficult to walk, and tried not to panic. I’d gotten used to
the feel of the usual quakes but knew this was not one of them. Instead of a lift, roll
or snap, this one had a sway to it. The whole building was swaying, not up and
down or with a rattle, but horizontally great distances side to side right along with the
earth. It felt like being in a loaded Volkswagen rocking back and forth on top of a
palm tree.

I walked to the balcony door and donned my harness that was on the rope ready to
go. I stood there on the third floor balcony talking down to Hasan for a while but then
it was just too much and I was scared of being up there. The way the building
swayed back and forth I couldn’t believe the walls didn’t buckle. At one moment I felt
the warm wind generated from the moving walls and remember wanting a drink of
water and being surprised not to hear anything breaking.

I started to go over the side to repel down and Hasan started yelling “Eric done
jamp, done jamp.” He ran into the dark building because he didn’t know I had a rope
to repel with. I ran down to meet him and we both ran down the narrow concrete
stairwell and out to the street together. We slapped each other’s backs and cussed
a lot in our native languages and watched the traffic. Abas from next door said he
was glad to see I made it down but that if there was a tsunami I should go right back

There were cars in the road bouncing on their springs like love vans. Before the
shaking even stopped both sides of Lueng Bata’s median filled with traffic headed
in one direction. Thousands upon thousands of motorcycles, pedestrians, military
vehicles and tankers with people clinging to the sides and top headed for higher
ground. There were police moving with the exodus yelling something over the loud
speaker and there were many traffic accidents.

Azhari called me last night a bit after it happened and told me he was scared, very
scared. He took off with the rest of the crowd up to the mountains about ten
kilometers away.
He was riding his motorcycle when it hit and braked to a quick stop because it was
hard to ride. His cycle fell over but he got up right away. He looked around for a
minute but when it didn’t let up he got back on his cycle, ground still shaking. He
crashed five times on the way. He talked to thousands of people who had left in a
hurry and were worried about their places being looted. Turns out many people
reported being looted.

The lights went out only for about fifteen minutes. I came back upstairs and phones
were still working. I got online and checked seismic reports which said a tsunami
was possible. While I sat there I thought the shaking had started again but it turned
out to be my heart pounding. It was quite a moment of honor to experience such a
thing with the Acehnese.
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16 April 2006 - Eddie

22 January 2006 - Eric

27 September 2005 - Eric

6 September 2005 - Eddie

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28 July 2005 - Eddie

4 July 2005 - Aaron

16 June 2005 - Aaron

19 May 2005 – Eric

18 May 2005 - Aaron

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26 March 2005 – Eric

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23 February 2005 – Aaron

23 February 2005 – Eric

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18 February 2005 – Eddie

18 February 2005 – Eric

16 February 2005 – Eddie

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12 February 2005 – Eddie

11 February 2005 – Aaron

10 February 2005 – Eddie

9 February 2005 – Eddie

7 February 2005 – Eddie

5 February 2005 – Eddie

5 February 2005 – Part 2 –

4 February 2005 – Eddie

2 February 2005 – Aaron

1 February 2005 – Eddie

30 January 2005 – Eric
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