2004-12-26 Marbella, Spain / Where were You / Wo warst Du / Onde estava Você / Dónde Estabas

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The ‘2004 Indian Ocean’ earthquake of 9.1 – 9.3 magnitude occurred at 00:58:53 UTC on 26th December with the epicentre off the west coast of Sumatra, Indonesia.

The undersea earthquake was caused when the Indian Plate was subducted by the Burma Plate and triggered a series of devastating tsunamis along the coasts bordering the Indian Ocean, killing 230,000 – 280,000 people in 14 countries. It was one of the deadliest natural disasters in recorded history.

Despite a lag of up to several hours between the earthquake and the impact of the tsunami, nearly all of the victims were taken completely by surprise. The first warning sign of a possible tsunami is the earthquake itself.

Minutes preceding a tsunami strike, the sea often recedes temporarily from the coast. In some cases, there are no warning signs at all: the sea will suddenly swell without retreating, surprising many people and giving them little time to flee.

In addition to the total of 227,898 of local residents, up to 9,000 foreign tourists enjoying the peak holiday travel season were among the dead or missing.

The European nation hardest hit may have been Sweden, whose death toll was 543. Germany was close behind with 539 identified victims. Among the international victims were a Thai prince, and a number of relatively well known musicians and sports players.

I was a at my office in Guadalmina, probably late, probably very late, but business did not stop because of the holidays, actually the other way round. Holiday season is always high season for the real estate market on the Costa del Sol.

Holiday makers turn into buyers, husbands into Santa Claus, poor into rich and unfriendly into welcome. One of my 20 sales guys, Australian, had actually been in Thailand until yesterday and I was quiet thoughtful that day.

I went home starting the fire in the chimney, which had become a habit. Southern Spain does not really get cold during the winter season, but with having a chimney in my apartment, in the living room, right opposite the sofa, I had to start a fire.

A fire gives you warmth, but a fire is more than this, at least to me. A fire is memories, a fire is energy, a fire is tranquility, a fire is meditation, a fire is Love, sometimes.

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