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Mexico 1997

The hurricane damage in Puerto from Paulina was selective. In Puerto, unless you knew what for and where to look, there are not that many significant changes. Many roofs and trees were destroyed, but they were mostly removed and repaired. The waves were not that significant, and most damage is not around the beach. The second hurricane, Rick, did as much or more damage due to the huge rainfall. The Rio Colotepec was totally destroyed, as what once was a wandering little river lined with overhanging trees is now a massive wide and straight flood plain, probably about two Km wide. I would have loved to have the Direct TV concession, as every dish on the Oaxaca coast was destroyed, and most were replaced with direct TV dishes, which being a lot smaller and easily concealed and moved, should fair much better in a hurricane.

We went down to Puerto Angel and Zipolite in the mini bus on December 5, and the apparent damage closer to Pochutla and Puerto Angel was awesome. Literally everything was blown clean away except small shrubs and concrete walls. All the roofs and satellite dishes were gone, as expected, but also huge trees, if left, were almost destroyed with most their branches ripped off. I had heard that there were no leaves left on any trees, and although hard to believe, it was true, and a lady in Puerto Angel confirmed that there was not a leaf in sight, as they were blown right off the trees. This includes all the palm trees, some which were broken right off, and others which were just starting to sprout new fronds. Nothing was on the ground either, as I imagine that any rubbish and debris was clear up in the mountains or the ocean somewhere. It looked as if a giant weed eater had gone through about four metres off the ground. Concrete power poles were broken right in half, so you can imagine the force to do that. Giant steel high voltage power towers were ripped right apart in various places, not left hanging, but plain missing. The rivers totally washed out their whole plains right into the ocean, kilometres wide.

The towns were actually rebuilt quite well, and Puerto Angel had way more people there that I have ever seen, including tourists and many workers reconstructing stuff. Although all the leaves and trees are just starting to recover, most the facilities are wholly ready. We walked over to Zipolite, and although I heard that there was nothing left, the beach and most the palapas are intact. The hurricane did not flood up the beach, but rain flooded rivers did flood the town from the hills behind. There is a much construction going on, mostly with concrete. The turtle museum lost all it's turtles, and the buildings were heavily damaged, so I imagine that it will be awhile before it is open again.

I went down along the beach Thursday to La Barra, which is on the Colotepec River about 10 Km from town, and the scenic and idyllic location that was one of my favorite places on the whole planet was ravaged all to hell. The river went straight through to the ocean, and all that is left is a huge delta with a bunch of dead trees and stuff. The river that used to be fun to lay in and have a natural hot jacuzzi is now too big to cross. But, I guess in time things will recover somewhat.

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