A typhoon? You have got to be kidding!

16 Jul

At the beginning of my last week away from home, my colleagues in Taiwan started to mumble about the weather.

“You know a typhoon is coming, right?”

“Maybe you should go back to China early?”

“It might not be safe, when is your flight?”

As a child of the Midwest, typhoons don’t even make my radar.  Despite living through a typhoon in Shanghai last year, I have never really considered their impact – nor have expected them to impact me.  To tell you the truth, I wasn’t even looking at the weather report in Taiwan.  I knew every day was hot and it would rain after lunch.  Seemed enough of a forecast.

After their constant questions though, I started to do research.  I discovered that Typhoon Soulik was bearing down  directly on Taiwan and impact was expected Friday.  I was supposed to fly back to Shanghai out of Taipei on Friday.  Great.

From my previous post, going back early wasn’t really an option, so either I was moving my flight up on Friday or I had two extra (very rainy) days in Taiwan.  I opted for the former and crossed my fingers that the typhoon wouldn’t pick up speed.

As I walked back to the hotel Thursday night people were soberly boarding up glass windows, covering doors with wood and paper and really battening down the hatches.  I booked a taxi for 6am the next day and the receptionists all started commenting on the typhoon and maybe I should stay longer.   As I packed, I made sure in my carry-on were my rubber shoes and what clean clothes I had left, in case I got to the airport and was separated from my big bag.  I didn’t sleep much that night.

Friday morning bright and early I left for the airport.  The rain hadn’t started but an ominous quiet was over the city.  The trip to the airport took 30 minutes when it should have taken an hour, almost no cars were on the road.  Taoyuan airport was buzzing, everyone was trying to get out.  After I made it through customs I looked out the window – the rain had started.

I ate breakfast in the airport and made my way to the boarding gate.  The airplane pulled up late – it was one of the huge, double decker planes with first class on the top.  I’m guessing that the airline wanted to get as many people out as possible as well.  The 30 minute delay made me very nervous as the sky got darker and darker.  I tried to stay calm but the panic born out of over  five weeks away from home came very close to winning.

But… I did make it out.  If I had stayed for my original 2:30 flight, I would not have been in Shanghai on Friday.  Simply put, sometimes it is worth it to listen to your colleagues.

Typhoon Soulik did make a direct hit on Taiwan late Friday evening and had torrential rain and squalls through mid-day Saturday.  The airports were working again Saturday night and things were pretty much back to normal on Sunday.

You can see it reduced in intensity by the time it hit Taiwan, but still - a direct hit on Taipei!

You can see it reduced in intensity by the time it hit Taiwan, but still – a direct hit on Taipei!

The typhoon didn’t win.   I am finally home.

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2 Responses to “A typhoon? You have got to be kidding!”

  1. Every Day Adventures in Asia July 17, 2013 at 4:56 am #

    Delighted you made it home and hope that the preparations reduced any major negative impact. 🙂

    • gkm2011 July 17, 2013 at 7:29 am #

      Yes, I made it! Saw you had a roundabout trip yourself! Hope your trip goes well too.

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