This time we were just up the road from the whisky collector’s house the week before. It was pissing down with rain in the morning so we’d been assigned a job indoors, clearing out a small family-owned supermarket that had been trashed. It was the only supermarket around for miles and had been in business for 100 years. We were only 200 metres round the bend from last week but around here, very little was left and there was a lot of fire damage.
The mother and grandmother who ran the place told us a bus had exploded just up the road during the earthquake which set off a fire that raged through the area before the tsunami hit. As the waters receded the grandmother said there were hundreds of Isaki (Gruntfish) flapping around in the debris as well as loads of squid from a nearby processing plant. She said the stench was unbearable for the first month or two and they were finding squid wedged in everywhere.
There was also this one big overturned refrigerated food display rack that just would not move. All 18 of us trying to slide it forward, left, back, right and forward again but absolutely nothing was happening, it was like the thing was nailed to the floor. We tried pulling it with ropes like a big tug-of-war, but one of the ropes snapped. We tried a couple of crowbars under it to try and shuffle it forward with no luck, we managed to roll it over 90° but that didn’t help either. We finally got it moving by counting everyone in and with a big grunt picked the thing straight up and ran it over to the corner. Grocery shopping will never be the same again.
When we were done we chatted some more with the mother and grandmother who insisted we take a carton of soft drinks and some thank-you food home with us. An interesting choice of pizza and donuts, but hey, after sweating and struggling with that overgrown bloody fridge, I’d have eaten anything!
Thanks to Sylvain for most of these photos...