The Big One

Earthquakes are part and parcel of Mexico City’s past, present and future. Some parts of the world wait for ‘the big one’. CDMX simply waits for another big one. The wait is never long. We did not have to worry much about relatives. The first we heard of the quake was just a couple of minutes after the event when Mrs P’s dad called to say he was ok. We had no reason till then to think he might not be. The remaining friends and Continue reading “The Big One”


One of the little things you get used to in Mexico City are the tremors that rock the city every now and then. It’s hard to describe the feeling of a quake (I should use the word tremor more than the dramatic earthquake word!)- having someone rock your chair just doesn’t do it!

We had a small one last night that lasted just a couple of seconds. Often you only notice them if you are sitting down. About 6 months ago, we had a more substantial shaker. Went on for a minute or so in two bursts, shaking all the lights and hanging things – the first thing you look for if you feel something.

It was quite eerie, not least because it was the first one I had noticed. You don’t just feel the sofa rocking, but the gound beneath your feet. We haven’t had too big a quake here since the ‘Big One’ of 1985, but I have learned the danger signs. First sound of cracking walls – get the hell out! Otherwise sit put!

The sirens are a good help, confirming that the shaking was indeed a quake about 5 minutes after the fact! So anyway, if ever you hear of a big quake in Mexico City, and I don’t post again, you know what happened!


We had a small earthquake today! All very exciting! I had gone to a coffee shop with Paola in the evening for a drink, having spent the afternoon eating in a Yucatan restaurant with her family, when it happened. It wasn’t that dramatic, and the city gets these minor tremors a few times a year. We were sat on a sofa when the earth just moved gently from side to side. You could distinctly feel it, and it went on for 10 to 20 seconds. The lights and loose hanging things stuck to the ceiling were swaying for a couple of minutes more.

Most Mexicans are pretty nervous about earthquakes after the 1985 disaster which killed anywhere between 10,000 and 30,000 people. I’m told there isn’t much to worry about unless you hear cracking noises. Paola and her family all survived the 1985 quake without injury, but she remembers it pretty well. Even today the scars are there to be seen – the huge parks around the Zocalo area weren’t always parks. They mark the spot were a good number of the 400 or so destroyed buildings stood.