Posts Tagged ‘protests’

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Cacerola Girl: See Below for Explanation    (Not my Graphic)

The realization that things go wonky when I am around, or not long before or after I’m around, is a bit unnerving. The wonkies are mostly of the weather/natural disaster types, but there has also been political uprisings, wars and/or man made disasters. 

Here is the timeline:

1986:  My first international trip was to Europe. I went right after I graduated University. I did a 3 month backpackers trip around a month after Chernobyl blew up. I even went as far East as Budapest when I was there.  I am not even sure I knew much about it back then, as I was in college in a tiny town, studying for my final exams, getting ready to graduate, packing or selling my stuff, and I did not own a TV.  I think I ended up ok?

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Chernobyl (Not My Photo) 

1989: I took off for a month in Venezuela by myself.  After visiting Caracas for several days, I flew to Merida which is a cute mountain college town.  When I got there I noticed something was a bit off, small fires in the streets, but not many people. I heard there were protests going on.  I planned a trip into the Amazon jungle for several days, and when we got back, cars were burnt to a crisp in the center of town, windows were broken and graffiti covered the walls, but again it was oddly quiet.  I did no know it then, but it was one of the biggest and deadliest protest in Venezuela happened when we were in the Amazon Jungle. It is known as “Caracazo”. The Protests were in several towns, with Caracas having the biggest one and probably with the most deaths. One day I was walking around town and saw a bunch of police turn a corner, so me with my camera, I wanted to get some shots of what was happening.  I started down the empty street until a young stranger pulled me into a doorway.  She motioned for me to cover my mouth and then I followed her running into a what looked like a shut down business.  It was a bar.  When running I realized I was breathing in tear gas.  It burned my eyes, my throat and lungs.  I didn’t even see the tear gas being set off, after the smoke, it is just clear as air.  People in the bar handed me a beer and a wet towel. I chugged down the beer feeling some relief in my throat, and I used the towel to wipe my eyes which wouldn’t stop tearing up.  I was too shy to use my limited Spanish, but thanked them with a weak “por favor”.  They ended up convincing me to speak with them, because they liked the sound of how I spoke their language…grammatically wrong and everything.  I am glad to this day, that I got pulled out of the action as over 250 people died in those protest around the country. I have some photos of the protest or aftermath, but they were on film and are in a photo album stuck away in storage.  So I borrowed this photo.

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The protests are now known as Caracazo were held all over Venezuela.  Over 250 people died when the protests got violent. Not my Photos

Also in 1989, The San Francisco-Oakland Earthquake shook the entire Bay Area. I was front and center for it.  I and other’s were still in our office just talking when the 6.9 earthquake hit.  Luckily, no damage to our building happened, just an intense rolling movement.  I was meeting with a friend to go watch the Giants in the World Series at a bar.  He had to dodge falling brick and stuff as he was already outside in a less solid ground area.  I met up with him, even though the power was out.  We walked up to Coit Tower after it got dark and that is when the damage really got to me. It was pitch black all around the Bay and in SF with Fires here and there in the Oakland hills. 

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Part of the on ramp to the Bay Bridge Collapsed (not my photo)
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Apartment Building in the Marina Squished like an Accordian. (not my photo)

After that the 90’s were, I guess, quiet…around me at least.

1999: Jump ahead 10 years to when I visited my friend in Virginia Beach, VA and when Hurricane Floyd came to visit as well.  I was supposed to fly out, but all flights were cancelled, so we spent the long day without electricity playing games and trying to make a drink called the “Hurricane” with limited options of alcohol.

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2001: There was that trip to Egypt where I flew there 10 days after 9/11. The trip was already planned.  Yes, I went to a Muslim country, where one of the 9/11 pilots were from, but had been kicked out of his country for Terrorism in the Past.  I am a Honey Badger when it comes to my trips, I was not going to let the terrorists mess it up.  There was definitely a lot more guns around the country so said a local friend I stayed with, but no danger at all and not many tourists as well.  I’m so glad I went, because I feel Egypt will never be the same again.

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This was crowded compared to what it looked like when I was there…with the Chief of the Egyptian Police getting a private tour. (not my photo)

2005: We were going to meet up with a friend in New Orleans, so she and her husband could meet my fiance.  It was planned for October, 2001…a month after 9/11.  We never met up.  Hurricane Katrina hit. And hit hard.

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Not my Photo

2008: We were driving across the country and we planned to go to New Orleans, as Jim has never been there.  But noooo, another Hurricane was going to hit down around there.  Gustav did not do much damage, but we had gone north to get around it.  So to this day, we still have not gone to New Orleans and when we do, it will not being during Hurricane Season.

2009:  We lived in Honduras for 18 months and during that time, there was not only an Earthquake of 7.3, but there was a coup d’├ętat where the Army removed the President from power.  What is amazing, is that a 7.3 earthquake did not do much damage at all, where in, say, San Francisco, there would have been buildings down.  It happened in the middle of the night and I truly thought I was going to wake up to crumble all over town, but no.  There was some damage, in other areas though.

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And the coup was no different, like you think there would have been an uproar in the streets, nope.  Si Quire Dios, “as God wants” is not just words, it is a “Thing” in Honduras.  The Military Government in power used to announce curfews for 4pm like at 3:45, so there was chaos as people tried to get home.  Life went on as usual in the most part.  When it first happened, I thought we would have to escape, because I thought it would crazy dangerous there, but for us it was not bad at all.  There were some killings of people that tried to go against the new regime, but no protests near us.  I guess I would not protest either if I thought I would be shot dead.

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I don’t have a photo of the Coup, but I do have one of me almost getting run over by the man that was ousted, President Mel Zelaya

2011:  We lived in Southern Vermont.  As far as disaster goes, you’d figure a blizzard or something like that, but no, another Hurricane hit when we lived there.  Hurricane Irene did a lot of damage all the way through it’s path including our small town of Brattleboro.

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An art center built over the river had the floor drop out of it from raging rivers due to Hurricane Irene.

2015:  We move to Chicago during it’s 5th largest Blizzard in history.  It snowed 19.3 inches between late Saturday night and 6 a.m.  We all called it the “Super Bowl” blizzard, because it was the worse that day of the Super Bowl.  We crashed a Super Bowl party in our apartment building and watched the storm out of the floor to ceiling windows on the 30th floor.

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After the snowing stopped the sleds came out outside out building.

2017:  The Napa, California Fires, and so many more happened when we lived not far away.  That year was the worst fire season ever regarding property damage.  We lived just outside San Francisco, less than 40 miles away and the whole area was blinded by smoke and everyone feared the fire would never go out or spread even more. It was devastating for those involved.

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This is an old friends Winery in Napa.  The whole building was destroyed. I had many a good time in that building in the 1990s. (Photo by the Signorello Winery)

We were also in Florida for Hurricane Mathew that September. Not only us, but my sister and brother were there too, and we all hunkered down in my parents small house which is further away from the water than ours, and they have hurricane shutters.  We watched TV until the electricity went out and then we did a talent show to keep us entertained.  It hit while we were asleep that night, did not realize because we were in what I now call, Fort Knox.  Nothing but a lot of tree limbs, leaves, moss and branches down at both our house and my parents house, fortunately. We were super fortunate as a Tornado went down the backyards a whole block across the street.

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Five People locked Inside a Hurricane Shuttered House for like 5 Days…We Survived the Hurricane and Family!

2019: This is where the Cacerola Girl comes in and will explain her at the end. We are now in the middle of a political uprising, living in San Juan, Puerto Rico.  After a published long list of sexist and hurtful chats between the Governor and his Cronies, the people of Puerto Rico, and me too, protested for the Governor to Resign and he did!  Something protesters do here is bang pots and pans.  Cacerola means pan in Spanish. Men, women and children do it, not just girls.  They not only bang pots while protesting in the streets, it was happening at 8pm every night from front doors, balconies, hotel rooms, and even work, until the Governor resigned. I got a pot and I’m ready to bang it! The new Governor is just as bad as the last one.

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This is Cacerola Girl!  She, alone, is protesting at the long line of cops with her pot and wood spoon.  She is my Hero! (Not my Photo)
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There may be more protests, but let’s hope a Hurricane will not hit here this year. Cross your fingers for Puerto Rico, because they can’t handle another one.

I am sorry to everyone, if I really have had anything to do with any of them.  It’s probably just coincidence…right?

Thanks for visiting and reading about my bad luck!

Come back to see what I got going on next time.

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