A pretty damn strong typhoon hit last weekend. I think it’s one of the stronger ones (as felt in Taipei) since my return. Last Friday afternoon, the city of Taipei canceled school and work, causing city-wide traffic jam. While normally our off-work hours are scattered: factories at 5, secretaries at 5:30, the lucky ones at 6, engineers anywhere from 7~11pm and what have you, on this day EVERYONE got off at 2pm. What normally was a 8-min drive from the freeway to my house turned into a 40-min crawl as the route cut through a business park. The same route would’ve taken 25min tops on foot.
By Friday night the winds were hitting my bedroom window like a shockwave: I’d hear the whoosh, then it would crash against the window, making it shake for a good second or two. Good thing it didn’t bring too much rain to the city. God knows our city planners did not leave enough drains and unpaved surfaces around to let the water seep underground. Small trees were uprooted, and larger trees were ripped in half. Good thing the typhoon was relatively short, as it pretty much was gone (at least in Taipei) by Saturday morning.
One can actually feel the technological advancements the city has seen in the past few decades. I remember as a kid we would expect the power to be cut at one point or another during a typhoon, since the power lines have yet to be moved below ground. I remember eating cold leftover for lunch, and how sweet the cold rice tasted. Having the power cut meant that air conditioning was cut too, along with the soothing hum of the compressors. We would lay awake on our beds uncomfortably through the night, listening to the wind and whatever was riding it wreak havoc outside. Somehow, typhoon days were special back then. Now I’m just happy that I get an extra half-day of forced inactivity.