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Got off the sleeper train from Kunming to Chengdu ten minutes before the earth started shaking. We were at a bus station and we figured that we were standing on hollow ground, with buses driving over ... but then the tremors got stronger, and stronger, and lasted longer than we could believe.

We boarded our bus after the earthquake, and started a two-hour bus ride through China's fifth-largest city. It's normally twenty minutes, but people had fled buildings all over the city and were trying to get home to family they couldn't reach over the overstressed cell network. A couple times we saw crowds running for safety in the middle distance and realized we were in the middle of an aftershock.

Got off the bus and the US Consulate was closed, of course, so Laura couldn't apply to get her stolen passport replaced. Found a bar nearby and ordered some beer. Spent a couple hours waiting for the power to come back on, and a couple more hours trying to find a hotel with an open room.

Finally checked into a hotel, where they wouldn't let us into our room since the government was "checking things out". Eventually a hotel official came by to tell us we could go to our rooms. We asked him some questions, and that's when we found out that five to ten thousand people were thought to be dead.

last timestamped: 12:32:22 12-May-2008
in categories:Travel/Vagabond'08


that is the most unbelievably safe experience of a 7.8-magnitude earthquake that killed thousands of people that I can imagine. that's stupendous!

posted by stephanie mail

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Yeah we were walking around all day after the quake without a clue as to how massive a catastrophe it had been.

posted by Lukas

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The photos coming out of Sichuan over the past day have been horrifying. I hear from friends that Chengdu is mostly ok, its the smaller villages and cities (still small==1 million people) that are desolated. Stay safe & take lots of photos!

posted by gilad mail homepage

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