I've just arrived in Orlando for a halloween festival and I must mention just how glad I am to be out of South Florida. Hurricane Wilma was the first real hurricane I've experienced. From watching amazingly stong winds blow down trees early Monday morning to living without electricity, phone or drinkable water until I left this afternoon, it is something I don't really want to experience again. The experience was worthwhile, yes, but that's enough thanks. One of the most dangerous things I've had to do is drive around without working traffic lights. The traffic lights weren't working not only because there was no electricity, but because in a lot of cases they just weren't there anymore. Trees everywhere were down. Powerlines were strewn across roads. The scenery changed so much that I drove past an entrance to a street because I didn't recognise it anymore - and of course a lot of the street signs had been blown down. There were massive lines for car fuel at the few pumping stations that were working (there was no power to pump the fuel so some stations had to get backup generators in). The only time I really bothered with a car was to visit friends and to find reception for and to charge my cell phone. All the other times I travelled about was on a mountain bike to pick up water or get cell phone service.
Forget all the rest of the hurricanes I've been through, they were nothing compared to Wilma's effects on South Florida. For the photo curious I have lots and lots of pictures but I don't have the tools to post any of them yet to my flickr account.
So now I'm looking forward to a hot shower, decent water, hot food, working traffic lights and no curfews... and hopefully when I return to Fort Lauderdale Sunday night I'll at least have some of those little conveniences back.