Have you ever been in a hurricane? We hear it all over the media during hurricane season seeing the material devastation, of lives disrupted and emotional pleas for help on the screen. Here’s the story of when I met Hurricane Norbet on the Baja peninsula in the fall of 2008.
The day before we drove onto an ocean front campsite with only one other family within sight. The campsite itself was a skinny piece of land jutting out into the Sea of Cortez. We spent the evening floating in the clear tranquil calm waters slightly north of Loreto, Mexico. Our van parked a few meters from the water’s edge we prepared our dinner and read some pages in our books before bunking down for the night. This is what we had dreamed about for our trip. The beach, our van, the two of us together soaking up the last rays of warm sunlight all the whilst blissfully unaware of the world outside our little bubble.
Early in the morning around 5am I heard the family camping near us departing the sound of their engine jarring me awake momentarily as the lap of the waves gently rocked me quickly back to sleep. Not thinking a thing of their sudden early morning departure we started the day with a light breakfast and a long cup of coffee only slightly urged on by a light drizzle. Once packed up and back on the road the drizzle quickly became a down pour as we headed south. We seemed to be alone on the road yet not at all concerned and only noticing once we realized it seemed everyone was heading north. I remained unfazed silently glad Ricardo was driving as the poor excuse for windshield wipers seem incapable of doing their job. Eventually the engineer in Ricardo piped up as the onslaught of rain pounded the ground in front of us beginning to form small rivers across the highway. He began to question “the design of the road and it’s drainage capabilities” a foreign language to me I gazed, uninterested, out my passenger window. Then the wind started slam the side of the van rattling our windows. OK, that woke me up. Sitting starkly upright I stared hard at the GPS to see how far the next town was.
In what seemed like an eternity but was in all likely hood less than half an hour we pulled over at the top of a hill into an area with a long line of roadside stands to find out what was going on. Enter Hurricane Norbert he was up a for a party beyond the likes we were interested in or had to fortitude for but never the less we were going to get acquainted.
We quickly found shelter in a hotel, on relatively high ground, who so generously provided us with the “Hurricane Rate” which could also be called the “Desperate Gringos Rate” and we fleetingly considered bunking down in our1987 Westfalia during a HURRICANE.
Well needless to say we were glad we didn’t when we tucked into warm beds, turned on the t.v., something we had not done in months, to watch the news and get this……Skyped our families. Yup, dishing out the dollars provided us with free WIFI for the duration of our stay. We also took breaks from our temporary cocoon to swim in the pool. So needless to say my hurricane experience was not exactly “as seen on t.v.” And I just want to finish by saying an extra special thank you to the Mexican family that clearly got a hurricane warning phone call from friends or family early in the morning – thanks guys for not giving us the heads up, much appreciated.