Thousands of people prepare for the arrival of Hurricane Patricia to the Mexican coast. I feel a pinch of fear and anguish not only for the obvious reason, Patricia will bring destruction with her in a way the civilian population is not yet ready or aware of, but that is not the only reason of my concern.
Back in the summer of 1980 I was living with my family in the Yucatan Peninsula. My father had opened a restaurant in Cancun with a Swedish investor and we had moved from Spain to live there.
If I close my eyes I still remember the scent of humid air in my first night in the city, as we arrived at the airport. I was 4 years old and for me Mexico was another planet. I thought it was going to be some kind of wild place with people acting strange, no civilization and of course a place I would never like. I was absolutely and blatantly wrong.
Cancun, back in the eighties had of course that small tropical village feel but still I was happy to not being right. People was warm and friendly, there was so much to do and see and the food…hmmm…the food was beyond delicious.
Back to that summer night, I remember vividly how my father covered the wide glass windows we had in the living room with brown packing tape so the glass would not hurt us when it broke. I remember how the four of us, mom, dad, my sister and me slept together in the sofa bed with the radio on all night listening to the news on “Radio Cultural Ayuntamiento”. I remember the fear of knowing something terrible was coming, the anxiety only compared to looking at a fierce animal into its eyes sure it is gonna jump on you sooner than later. The reason of that fear was no other than Hurricane Allen.
At 9 pm that night of august 5th Hurricane Allen with its point 5 in the Saffir-Simpson scale arrived to Cancun unleashing all its power.
Luckily my family was safe and as days went by we recovered from the fear of that summer night. Other families were not so fortunate and lost their houses, and in some places outside Mexico the victims we couted by hundreds.
Tonight I will light up a candle for Cancun and its people that will always be a part of me. May they be protected and safe.