I got home from my crazy trip to Chernobyl yesterday and have mostly caught up on my sleep.
I saw lots of stuff, snapped thousands of photos, and wrote a detailed trip journal each night (and sometimes paused during the day to sit down and write a bit...) about the whole experience. It'll help me cement everything in my memory to write it all down quickly before it fades.
Looking at lots and lots of wreckage made my mind start to go numb; there are levels and levels of detail and I kept trying to make sense of everything. It simply doesn't work. After a day or two, I found myself just walking around shaking my head mumbling, "no. no."
The people who had to deal with the accident did the best they could with an incomprehensible and horrible situation. I kept feeling alternately elated and horrified that humans had been such brave ass-kickers that they got their kids out, left their homes in an orderly manner - and then some of them went back into a radioactive nightmare and cleaned it up. It sure puts some of my little problems in perspective and it makes me realize that humans deal with this kind of thing all the time
when there are natural disasters. Right now, the Japanese are calmly and graciously rebuilding from a tsunami and a radiological disaster, too. And Haiti's still a mess from its earthquake and the south asian tsunami's damage is no doubt still felt... The meaning in the world is not "OMG! The disaster!" it's "OMG! look how awesomely tough those people are!" Remember, following WWI and WWII huge parts of the world looked worse than Chernobyl. Disasters are one thing, but to really fuck things up, you need governments.
If any of you are interested in more details about my trip, I've converted my journals into HTML and posted them on my website here:[link]
Initially I was thinking of posting them here but it's just too much material.
Today, in the US, is a holiday we call "thanksgiving"; it's a kind of silly holiday, really, but today I'm going to feel thankful for all the humans who just get the job done, even if it's only because they've got to.