May 31, 2008

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A chef reports from the Chinese earthquake zone... Matthew Goudge is an Australian chef working in Chengdu, almost in the centre of the earthquake zone. He sent me this report: May 12th, 2008: I had no idea what the time it was when the monster hit... as it turns out it was 2.28pm. I was sitting at my desk in the pre-opening office working on a kitchen training powerpoint presentation when all of a sudden everything around me started to frantically shake. I was the last to leave the building - my office is on the 6th floor of a relatively old 9 story building. The stairwell is close by, as it turns out my regular journeys up and down the stairs for health purposes assisted me in a mad dash to escape from the trembling surroundings. People were gathered in the alley below the building - I began to make my way to the apartment building whereby Maria my fiancée was located. I was desperately trying to get hold of her on the telephone to no avail; the lines were cut or jammed. The city was in a mad panic, and I was lucky to flag down a taxi. I showed the driver the address, which I have written in the local lingo on a piece of scrap paper. It was a miracle that I managed to get a taxi, as Chengdu has a major taxi shortage at the best of times. I reached the apartment in a short time, and there was rubble scattered all over the road. I gave the driver the money for the fare and ran into the building and found Maria. She was beside herself - in fact she was talking to her mother on the telephone when the magnitude 8 hit. We gathered some of our important documents and ran out...

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