I am okay. Luckily yesterday morning at 7:30 am I left Kathmandu on a bus for Pokhara. It is typically a 6 hour drive between the two and I think we were closer to the epicenter of the quake during the drive. The earthquake happened shortly before lunch time while I was en route to Pokhara. We were on the bus and it started shaking violently like something playing with the bus as a toy. I don’t think anybody at that time knew exactly what was going on. We were all kind of looking around scratching our heads. Then parts of the mountains started sliding down with loud thunderous roars. It was the kind of sound that you can feel. There were landslides happening all around us and large plumes of dust shooting upwards. Everyone then just started bolting off the bus to a nearby empty field. We sat there waiting for a while after the tremors stopped and eventually got back on the bus. That is when a second earthquake hit and everyone scurried off the bus again. We waited again and finally got back on the bus. Some of the people were too freaked out to get back on and decided to stay at that location.
The drive and aftermath to Pokhara looked apocalyptic with fallen earth and huge boulders on the road. The curvy road hugs the mountain sides and there were dozen of cars with smashed windshields and crunched fronts along the roadside. We zigzagged around the obstacles and rubbernecked at each piece of destruction. It was pretty surreal seeing all that.
When we finally got to Pokhara, we learned of the devastation in Kathmandu. It was definitely crazy to think I was just there and escaped just in time. Seeing on Facebook that one of my buddies that I met on the Mount Everest hike was in Pokhara, I met up with him last night. He actually just got out the shower when it happened. He said he was panicked and couldn’t find his key to unlock his door. A lot of doors in Nepal require a key to lock and unlock on the inside and outside. When he finally opened it, he stood in the doorway and braced for a building collapse. I can imagine how terrifying that was. As the tremors stopped, he ran outside where everyone was screaming and gathering. It was pure chaos.
A lot of shops were closed when we pulled into town and there was a somber melancholy feel here. Many of the places that were open last night, ended up closing early. Everybody seemed pretty freaked out.
Earlier today, we had another earthquake. I was actually eating lunch at a restaurant when all of the sudden people started screaming and running to the streets. I joined my fellow sprinters and bolted out of the restaurant as well. It was pretty scary because this time we knew exactly what was happening. It was sheer pandemonium and everyone met in streets. People were yelling at other people to get away from the buildings, trees, or other objects. I was think everyone was pretty shaken at this point. Many people have been camped out in the streets all day are staying out of the buildings. A lot of shops that opened up this morning ended up closing their doors again. Pieces of building and rubble were on the sidewalk and some of buildings look crooked and very sketchy from the earthquakes. Pokhara itself has survived pretty well in the earthquakes but the villages around here are destroyed and have high death tolls. Nobody knows to what extent the structural damage is on these Pokhara buildings or how much more they can handle. I have to say I am a bit nervous about having a 3rd floor hotel room.
The locals think there will be a bigger earthquake to follow today but who can know for sure. My bottle of water on the table has ripples in it from the seemingly everlasting tremors.
Anyways, I wanted to let everyone know that I was okay. Thank you for all the prayers, concerns, and thoughts!