Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Hurricane Alex

In 1988 Hurricane Gilberto hit Monterrey, Mexico HARD. It flooded the dry river bed, destroying homes, parks and businesses. More than 100 people died when 5 buses full of evacuees were overturned  in the raging flood waters. Monterrey was devastated, but the city rebuilt. They built a dam, widened the river bed and took all the precautions they felt were necessary.

This is the monument that was erected to honor those lost in Hurican Gilberto. 
I contains a whole in the center because Monterrey was hit by the eye of the storm.

Twenty-one years later my Aunt Ella and Uncle Brent were called as mission presidents to Monterrey. I went to visit them and serve a mini-mission in the beautiful and booming city, which is has become one of Mexico's wealthiest cities. I had so much fun there, the city was bright and vibrant, there was always something to do near by. The long-time dry river bed, held soccer fields, go-carts and golf courses.

A year after my mini-mission, my parents took my whole family to Monterrey to visit my Aunt and Uncle. We flew into Laredo and then they picked us up at the air port to drive us to Monterrey. The trip was supposed to take 2 hours. Instead it took 24. Hurricane Alex. At first it was just some light rain we thought no biggie we can definitely beat the brunt of the storm. Half and hour later the windshield wipers were on high and we could still hardly see through the rain. We just kept driving hoping we'd make it to the mission home soon enough. The first road block we hit was a toll road that was closed. Uncle Brent thought that the toll road was probably fine, they just closed as a precaution. So we turned and tried to take a different route.

 Soon streets had become rivers we were not just driving in the rain, we were fording raging waters. Time and time again we'd come to a river in the road and just guess if we could make it or not. Luckily we did. We saw other cars that were no as fortunate. Finally we could go no more. We had to turn around and go back to the nearest hotel. The lobby was like a refugee camp. Soaking wet people everywhere. Some trying to get rooms others just watching the news. All the rooms were full but Uncle B convinced them to rent us their conference room. All 15 of us "slept" on the cold hard floor. In reality no one slept.

In the morning we piled back into the van and tried to make it through the hectic street. Rubble was everywhere, entire sections of the road were gone and traffic laws had gone out the window.

When we finally made it to Monterrey I was shocked. What was usually a dry river bed, was now a raging rapid. All the go-carts, the homes even the zoo was washed away

The toll road that we had tried to take the night before had been entirely under water

Roads were completely demolished

And others just disappeared

In short the devastation was tremendous, and things weren't looking good for our vacation either. We had planned a high adventure hike up mountains and into underground rivers, but the caves were all flooded and the roads up to them were gone. But we decided not to let the hurricane dampen our vacation. After a few days rest we fought back by finding a few ways to have fun. We went to Fundidores a park that was built around a steel production plant. it had all sorts of cool art. We rented bicycles and toured the park.

Dad and Uncle B took Calvin for a ride

Meg & Dev

Byrin trying to be cool

Coltin went off a jump

Robin and CJ

At this waterfall, Mark decided to be a show off and ride down it on his bike.
Uncle Brent, not to be out done did the same here is a video of his attempt:

Ouch!! He was okay though!

We had a lot of fun at Fundidores. Afterward we went to the market and most of us ate delicious tacos. Some of us were a bit skeptical (mom).

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