After eleven years living, dancing, teaching tango, and writing in Buenos Aires, I came home to L.A. in 2014, where I'm reconstructing my life.

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Volcanic Eruption in Chile Affects Bariloche

El Nahuel Huapi May 29, 2011

Timing is always everything, isn't it? And fortunately the timing for us to visit the spectacular scenic area of Argentina's Patagonia, was perfect. Because one week later it is a disaster of volcanic ash, polluted water, closed airports, and empty supermarkets.

So we were lucky to enjoy the clean air and waters, but the people there now, especially those suffering as I do from asthma and bronchitis, are paying big time for living in God's country.

I never worried before about Acts of God or natural disasters such as earthquakes, being used to them in Los Angeles; severe shakes as I'd experienced in '71 and '94 never frightened me.

However, after a severe earthquake I still had clean air to breathe if not any china dishes or antique pottery. Air is the number one ingredient for survival, and in a quake, if a falling building doesn't get you, you are probably ok.

I was always philosophical about Acts of God because, as insurance forms are quick to point out, they can't be helped and are nobody's fault.

One thing about living in Buenos Aires is that there are no earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, or volcanic eruptions. No Acts of God in particular, just lots of acts of people, for better but often for worse.

El Nahuel Huapi from a boat one week later
When I saw the videos on the news last night, of cars buried in ash in Bariloche, of day turned into night, of hospitals full of those who couldn't breathe--and with the week-old memory of the pristine skies and waters, I am heartbroken. My mind filled with images of Pompeii.

I believed that scientists could tell when a volcano was about to erupt, and people could be warned to leave the area. I guess not.

For nature, these events are not disasters, just things that happen in the scheme of the natural world. But for man--building his house on sand and damning the mudslides (as they do in Pacific Palisades, California), we need to have more respect. And appreciate when Mother Nature doesn't remind us who is the boss.

El Volcan Lanin, asleep for 3 centuries (it's covered in snow behind the green hill)

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