Wow...what a day! Yesterday mom and I headed out to attempt some after Christmas shopping. We decided to go to Pearl City (West of Honolulu & Waikiki) to go to Walmart there, and then followed it up with a movie. We went to see Yes Man with Jim Carrey, and NO I wouldn't recommend it (my mom wanted a good laugh...I don't know if it was what we were looking for). Anyway, as we came out at 6 pm, we noticed the night sky lighting up. I didn't think anything of it, but really just wanted to get our car out of the parking garage and hit the road. Well, as we came up and out of the garage...POOF...out went every light, in every store, in every building in the shopping strip we were in. SPOOKY. We instantly realized the electric storm had cut out the power, so we braved the blinding headlights against the rainy roads and surfaces to edge out into the flow of traffic. Now, if you know anything about merging onto the Kamehameha Highway there outside of that shopping area, it's an insane intersection. Thankfully we were merging to the right, so I just followed a line of traffic out onto the highway, towards the North Shore.
What should have been an easy little trip home turned into a really quite scary drive. I tried to stay in the outside lane, but realized that with the slope and the way the water was pooling, that the lane tended to be under water in places. Once we got off in Wahiawa, I just gripped the steering wheel and prayed we could get through this one last traffic spot. You have to drive through the middle of the town before going down a slope, over a bridge, and up on your way towards the Dole Plantation. SCARY. I knew "down" was not cool, but knew the bridge would allow the water to run over the bridge into the gulley below. Thankfully, I was right, and we made it all right. It was darker than death, and our GPS quit working, but we made it along the north shore in relative safety. By the time we hit Turtle Bay, it was only mom and I and a couple of other cars riding my tail (just like in a blizzard, following someone else is way easier than leading the way and braving the wet road!). By the time we turned off on Temple Drive, I finally sighed and let the muscles in my neck relax a bit. Talk about a headache from that drive!!!
I have to say how much I love the people here in Laie. Our neighbors up and down the road were outside visiting, children out lighting fireworks, etc. Mom and I just hauled our stuff in our cave-like apartment, found flashlights, and got the emergency radio on. It wasn't long after being home that we heard that it was going to be over 12 hours to get electricity back!!! Sigh. We sat in the living room for a little while, listening to the reports and callers until a little after 10 pm. Oh, and let me say that some man from Akron, Ohio called in and griped about how Hawaii Electric needed to take a lesson from the mainland in getting electricity up a little faster. ***Oh no he didn't!*** The broadcaster hung up, then proceeded to get really pissed (his words) and tried to explain over the radio how when you fly here, you cross thousands of mile of OCEAN between here and California that prevent hooking in to anyone else when the power goes out. Hello, if the President elect didn't have power, then how would these people expect anyone else to? DUH!
Okay, well mom and I hit the bed early. I actually took a sleeping pill, but still woke up because of the rain pounding outside at around 2am (I'm still nervous mom's place will flood again), turned on the radio, and still got the gist of the fact that we were all still down. By morning the broadcasters were announcing power back up where President Obama and his family are, and in other places down by the power plants, but most of the island would still be out until past noon. We had several huge rainstorms throughout the day, and mom and I had to go for a walk after awhile because the apartment was so hot and muggy, and it was just too dark! Thankfully, the lights came on 20 HOURS after they went out, at about 2:30 pm. Sigh. The last time this happened here was some earthquake of '06. The last tsunami was back in the 40s, and the last hurricane (mild) back in the 90s? Hmm...mom's been through a flood last week, and now this blackout the day after Christmas. Please say we or she's not due for anything else! :)
Regardless of it all, I love Hawaii. With all good and beautiful things, you do seem to have to take the opposite to balance it out. The people here are like family, and while I about went out of my mind (yes, this technology junkie suffered), I'm thankful that it was only an inconvenience and not something really dangerous! Mahalo!
Here's the news report from the Associated Press: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081227/ap_on_re_us/hawaii_power_16