The first storm of the season arrived in Rosario last Friday, October 26, at about 7:15 PM. If this is going to become the norm for mid-Spring and summer (and it certainly looks like it), we're in for a lot of trouble. At least we didn't get hail, like last year. Yet.
For some strange chance, I left home for Japanese school earlier than usual. I had hurried a bit in order to have a chance to go with my camera and take some sunset pictures before the class began. I packed my umbrella just in case. I realized I wouldn't be able to take pictures because it was cloudy, and I also realized I was hungry, so I left the camera at home, and when I arrived at the school, I sat down at the shokudō and asked Alicia-san for a piece of her delicious ricotta cake and a carton of juice to wash it down and cool myself (it was like 30 degrees!) while I waited for sensei to come.
Five minutes later I heard a loud whoosh outside, then another, and then all hell broke loose. It was as if a million giant rain machines up in the sky had been turned on at once. Gusts of wind over 100 km/h forced us to close the windows. Thunder and lightning shook the walls.
The fluorescent lights flickered and turned off for a couple of seconds while we were in class, then came back again. At 9 PM the class was over and it was still raining, though not heavily. I was wearing sandals, so I got my feet wet, but nothing else. As a classmate and I stumbled over broken tree branches, paddles filled with dirty water and leaves, and unexpected holes in the sidewalk, we saw an uprooted tree leaning against a house, and severed power cables dangling from the lines.
I got back to a pitch-dark neighbourhood lit only by passing cars and by the occasional shop that held on using a portable generator. At home, my family was having dinner with candles — nothing romantic about that.
The blackout lasted more than I'd expected, and in fact longer than any other previous blackout I can remember. Power came back after 25–26 hours. On Saturday I had plans to do a photo tour (I'll tell you about that later) and I had to visit a friend to charge the battery of my camera in his house. Since pictures are worth several orders of magnitude more than words, I'll let you see by yourselves.