Tuesday, August 21, 2007

High Wind in Jamaica

Richard Hughe's novel of that name wasn't concerned with hurricanes but a good many tourists in the region are undoubtedly paying close attention to this meteorological phenomena.
Whilst I have a tinge of sympathy for them, it beats me why anyone would wish to visit the region during hurricane season. I assume that the travel agents, whilst solicitously selling them travel insurance, don't bother to mention the fact that being caught in one is not a lot of fun.
The image of people sitting around, drinking beer, whilst the storm passes, having a jolly sociable time and having a tale to tell when they make it back home, is all very well, but the actual experience is nothing to be laughed at.
I lived through three whilst working in the Caribbean and wouldn't wish the experience on anybody, the images of the grapefruit flying off our tree like cannon balls is still with me.
Mindful of the fact that, whilst the wind does damage enough, it's the storm surge that creates the real havoc, we bought our house a strategic mile from the beach. Having the beach suddenly arrive in your living room is an experience to be avoided.
And our house was a solidly constructed affair of poured concrete with the roof trusses all secured with the aptly named “hurricane hangers.”
But even so, spending hours sheltering in a downstairs toilet, the only room without an outside window, is not a pleasurable experience but probably better than having to share a public shelter, as will be the lot of most of the tourists .
And then there's the aftermath. No power, no air conditioning and often no water.
Having a wonderful time – wish you were here.
And not us!


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