Thursday, September 11, 2008

A Swing in the 13th Floor

I woke up today with an unusual pain in my legs. Nothing came to my mind other than yesterday's mischief of being lost in space after. Me and my team were facing some problems with the spaceship. We had to land in a strange planet where we fought half-robot-half-human army. They were huger than us and were armed with gadgets we haven't seen before.

But that was a dream! then it must be the steps I take to my classes three times a week. After a while it all came back to me.

I was checking my email yesterday around 3 PM when I felt really dizzy. For someone fasting during Ramadan this is not a good news. It means you're not having the right portion of food to keep you healthy. But I remember very well that I had biryanee (rice with biryanee spices and vegetables), roasted piece of chicken, salad and a piece of cake with dried figs for desert. I can't be hungry this soon!

With closed eyes I was still feeling dizzy. Not a good idea to stand up, I looked right and there it was. The stuffed tiger with long dangling hands and legs was swinging right and left. It can't be the AC that made it move because if it was so then the shelves he was hanging on should not move too! Oh my God! An earthquake.

I ran to the next room where my father was helping my sister to hang her new shelves. I told them that there's an earth quake and I'm feeling dizzy. So they'd better change. We have to leave the building. A moment of silence there was and I said it's true look at the chandlers, they are swinging.

The earthquake was still there, the chandlers were still going left right and left, I put some important stuff in my handbag and told dad to bring the case of our important documents. We could hear screams of people in panic but still there was nothing to panic about. I can't remember if my mother was the one who called or I called her but we made sure that she was doing fine and we told her we're leaving the building.

When my sister and I went to the lift we found a women I've never seen before. From her features I can say I've seen her before. She must be the mother of the kids who play in the hallway. She greeted us and said it's good that you're leaving, and not to worry it's an earthquake. Dad joined us after a moment. The lift came but it was full of scared people and I think I saw a teen crying.

The women said let's take the stairs. She opened the door leading to the stairs and we went in. I've never seen what's behind that door. I've always thought it was an unpleasant dark damp place like we see in thrillers. Surprisingly, the place was very clean and well lit. I took my sister's hand and followed the lady. Dad was few steps behind us very calmly going down. Then it hit me! We live in the 13th floor! As long as it's not going up then it should be alright. Many people joined us from other floors.

When we reached the 6th floor, my mother was still on the phone, we remembered that we forgot a really important thing upstairs. But we decided to go down anyway. I called three of my friends to make sure they left their building and my sister called a relative. I toled her not to scare them and to give them the news calmly so she did in a very weird calm way buy asking the woman to put her 4 years old son on the phone. I was looking at her and telling her to ask him to give the phone back to his mum. Yet she asks him if he wanted an airplane or a car!

While spending more than half an hour downstairs, under the burning sun, I tried to fine something on the radio to tell us anything about what's going on but it was all in vain. My mother said that in Dubai the earthquake was stronger. After a while she updated us and said that real earthquake happened in Iran 6.1 on Richter scale!

After that people started to go back home since we were almost sure that everything was fine. As long as those were the aftershock then no need to worry anymore. It was nice to meet the thirteen floors from a different point of view.

Here's the news that we got afterwards.
Oh and the boy my sister talked to wanted a fast car :)

That's all for now.

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Blogger David said...

That is a very interesting dream you had Attawie! Were you and your team successful in defeating the cyborg (a word for part human, part machine) army?

I do not think that I have ever dreamed about going to another planet, but I have read dozens of books about other planets and alien creatures. :) One time though, I dreamed that I had traveled to the far future and that the world was ending. All the buildings were crumbling and the ruins were covered with a strange vine that was colored red and moved in an almost intelligent way. The vines sensed my presence and started to move toward me. There was a red light that kept growing in the sky. I knew that the light signaled the imminent doom of the Earth. I had to make my escape back into the past. I had a special device that could open a door into the higher dimensions of space and time. I activated the device and I fell into blackness. At that point, I woke up from the dream.

I understand the pain in your legs now. Having to take so many stairs to exit your building after the earthquake sounds like a good bit of exercise. So, was that your first earthquake?

I have felt only one earthquake, and interestingly, it happened just a few months ago. It was a moderate strength earthquake centered in Illinois about 150 miles from Indianapolis. I think the intensity was in the 5 range. It occurred about 3:00 AM and it woke me up. I heard a loud rattling sound that lasted for about 30 seconds. I did not feel any vibrations in the bed, I just heard the noise. I realized it must have been an earthquake. Well, it was over, so I went back to sleep. A few hours later, there was an aftershock that was not as strong, but it caused rattling noises again and woke me up a second time. This time, I got up and turned on the TV. A local news channel was talking about the earthquake and I learned where it had occurred. I thought it was very interesting to experience an earthquake from a distance that could not cause any real damage. The epicenter of the earthquake was a small farming town. A few buildings had some minor damage, but no one was injured.

I know that Iran experiences frequent earthquakes, so I wouldn't be surprised if you feel another one sometime. I remember the terrible earthquake in Bam, Iran about four years ago. It was so sad that about 20,000 people died. They lived in unreinforced houses made of dirt and stone. They were traditional houses built in the same way for centuries, but they fell down so easily and crushed the occupants to death. So many deaths from earthquake can be prevented if only buildings are properly engineered.

You know, it occurs to me that it is ironic that only a few days ago we were talking about the need to exit a building quickly for safety reasons and then yesterday you had to do just that!

I am glad that everyone is ok there. I hope the people of Gishm Island are ok too.

I see that you have told me about your big meal. :) I love rice and roasted chicken. Salad and cake are excellent too. I don't like figs so much though. Still, it sounds like an excellent meal! :D

9/12/2008 10:57 AM  
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9/16/2008 12:58 AM  
Blogger attawie said...

interested by my dream! talk about your dream David :) So that device did work and brought you to reality.

I think that was my 5th earthquake, or aftershock.

That reminds me of World Literature professors, he was explaining Voltaire's Candide and elaborating on Optimistic. I remember I wrote about that earlier somewhere. anyways so he looks at the bright side of earthquakes and say "the city is destroyed" so what? We'll be able to build new cities. "people died" so what? they will be replace by better people.

He said it in a calm, cool, funny way that we kept laughing during the lecture.

9/22/2008 9:59 AM  

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