Very early on Thursday September 7th, Jeff Whittaker flew down to Mexico for short trip to see our distributor and provide training for one of his customers who recently purchased a number of HT11D hydraulic power units and S3T submersible pumps. Little did he know how unique this trip would be?
His flight arrived without delay or problem – he took care of some other business Thursday afternoon and evening and after a delicious dinner he was dropped me off at his hotel. In typical fashion he fell asleep on the bed fully dressed watching the end of the New England / Kansas City game with every light on in the room.
He was shaken out of sleep by the strongest earthquake to hit Mexico in 100 years – the magnitude 8.1 earthquake that struck 60 miles off the southwestern Mexican coast near the states of Oaxaca and Chiapas. 600 miles from the epicenter, the 8th floor of the Holiday in was moving 8-10 inches back and forth, which wasn’t nearly as unnerving and the groaning sounds coming from the building itself. He rode out the end of the most violent shaking in his room and then headed downstairs, almost as if to get confirmation that it was really an earthquake (having never experienced one before). Once outside the hotel, feeling the aftershocks on solid ground was an unsettling feeling – He couldn’t imagine what the people within 100 miles of the earthquake felt. Sadly there was much destruction in the states closest to the earthquake and a number of people were killed in building collapses. The next day he learned that one of the people at the training has a crack in a wall in his house as a result of the quake that happened 600 miles away – He was not surprised to hear this based on his newfound respect for their power.
Back to bed and up in the morning to go and see the customer for the training. Schools are closed on Friday because of the quake so Mexico City traffic was “light”, at least lighter than normal. Because of the recent rains and then the earthquake it took some time for all of the employees to arrive for the training, but once they did they spent an hour reviewing the proper pre start checks, start up and operation of the HT11D hydraulic power units and 3” submersible pump. After fielding some good questions from the group they enjoyed a nice lunch together before departing.
Saturday morning was another early ride to the airport to get on the plane and depart for home as hurricane Katia was moving west across Mexico from Veracruz where later that day it was downgraded to tropical storm Katia. They always say it is nice to come home after any trip, despite good food, good friends and good business in Mexico, he can’t think of many trips where this was truer!