01 September 2005


Upon waking up this morning I heard the meek little sounds of a bird chirping right outside my window. Under normal circumstances it wouldn't seem out of place, but this was the window I had fortified with a thick blanket last night to prevent anything from coming through it: water, branches, whatnot. The finch, as it turned out to be, sought a moment's respite from the torrential wind and rain of Typhoon Haitang on the tiny windowsill outside.

Since my windows were so blurred with rain, I went into the bathroom, where the windows are screen and metal bars. The view from there afforded a look at two palm trees suffering in the wind, just like all the stock footage of any hurricane you've ever seen. I understand now why journalists always choose to film them; they look so dramatic, bending to the whims of the tropical storm. The actual storm boils off the eastern coast of the island, and though it's not a big place, the mountain range running north and south through its center provides the west coast, with the majority of the population, with shelter against the worst of the storm. Notwithstanding, Haitang managed to do a good deal of damage around the island, being the "most powerful tyhpoon to hit Taiwan in the last five years". Read a complete rundown of Haitang's path of destruction here.

I was delighted to discover that all our luxuries (electricity, hot water, internet connection) were all still fully operational. In this we are blessed, because a cursory glance around the campus shows a battlefield of broken tree branches and torn-down electricity wires. School was called off (yesterday was only the first day of school for the elementary level students and teachers). The storm is winding down to intermittent downpour and electric activity, which is a relief to those of us who have been holed up in the Practice Hotel all day. The Hotel itself has sustained only a little water damage, and this only in the "lobby", which is used more as a garage.