At 7 am on Friday 11th March 2011, I wake up to a beautiful sunny day, not unlike the other perfect days on this tropical paradise called Maui.
I walk to the balcony and see that the parking lot next to Kahului Harbour is flooded. The Kahului Beach Road which becomes Waiehu Beach Road is absent of cars.
I hang my laundry to dry on the lines of the balcony bannisters. Last evening I decided to run the washing machine in case the power or the water got shut off during the Tsunami Warning that started after the huge earthquake off Japan. My sister had called to tell me about the Tsunami. It seemed unreal.
When I switch onto Facebook, I see many messages on my wall asking if I’m all right. Did something happen early this morning, while I was still in deep sleep? I vaguely remember hearing the sirens and the telephone rings from neighbours.
I check my e-mails.
The governor of Hawaii issued a statement that all state employees should not go to work. This means that public libraries and public swimming pools are closed. The University of Hawaii and its community colleges are closed state-wide. But it looks like a day like any other —- why should everything be closed?
I check Twitter, which had been sending me tweets at the rate of 10 per minute last night. Some tweeters have taken on the role of newscasters, tweeting and retweeting. After half an hour of clicking, I finally read about the 7 ft wave that hit Maui.
There are dead puffer fishes on roads in Kihei. Many boats are damaged in Lahaina and Maalena Harbour. I had wanted to write about that whale watch trip guided by the Pacific Whale Foundation last Sunday for a scholarship fundraising event. I’m sure the whales are all right.
Without a television set, I only have the Internet to tell me what’s going on. Ironically just recently I watched the two-part movie “Tsunami 2004” which showed that the people who were directly affected had great trouble getting access to news and information. Those of us far away had round-the-clock reporting on TV.
Instead of googling for news, perhaps I should just ask my friends on Facebook to update me. What exactly is going on? Here, we are just happy that we have water and electricity, and most important — wireless Internet.
All eyes focus on Japan. My friends Ronnie and Lon from Honolulu who had left for Osaka Thursday morning — where are they now? My friends in Tokyo. My teachers in Okinawa where I had spent 11 years of my youth. That’s what I want to know: are they okay? What next?
Do we really have to stay at home in Maui?