Poagao's Journal

Absolutely Not Your Monkey

Sep 17 2001

Dean called last night and asked if I was coming o…

Dean called last night and asked if I was coming over to watch Star Trek at the 70’s Airport Love Palace. Typhoons don’t usually have that big an effect in Taipei, so I thought why not? A glance outside showed nothing but rain, so I said ok. Dean and Kay drove over and picked me up, since they were going out for videos anyway.

It was around 8 p.m. by the time we had picked a couple of VCDs out and returned. First we watched Family Man, with Nicholas Cage, and learned why success is bad for you. Then we watched Star Trek and began watching Cast Away, with Tom Hanks. By this time the weather outside was getting a bit violent. The wind rose to a howl and lightning began to flash, giving a surreal feel to the storm scene in the movie, as if it were some sort of hopped-up surround sound system.

We were about a third of the way through the movie when Eoghain, who lives on the top floor of the apartment, came in and said, in his typically British understated way: “We may be having a bit of a problem with the water coming in again.” We left Dean’s room and found several waterfalls streaming out of the light fixtures. Upstairs, Eoghain’s room had filled with water, and the balcony, where Eoghain keeps his pet alligator, was overflowing. We took turns bailing water out of Eoghain’s room with plastic drawers and had just about finished when the power went out, leaving us in darkness. The evacuated airport still had emergency lighting, of course, but the rest of the city was pitch black. The cat chose that moment to get in touch with its fear by vomiting on the floor.

The weather was such that I didn’t feel like returning home, so I spent the night. When I woke up this morning it was still raining heavily, but the wind had died down a bit, so I decided to walk back home, as public transportation didn’t seem to be working. The street below was flooded, and people were trying to push their cars to higher ground. The people on the radio said that high tide would exacerbate the flooding.

Dean and I walked south, but soon we were wading. Cars were mostly submerged in the almost waist-high water, which smelled of gasoline and other chemicals. Minchuan East Road was flooded as well, and I snapped some more pictures of Dean as he pointed out this man on a bicycle. Then Dean went back to the 70’s Airport Love Palace, while I continued south through what looked like a Taiwanese version of Venice. Garbage was floating in the submerged alleyways, and stairways down to lower levels in office buildings had become waterfalls. Changchun Road was covered in about 3-4 feet of water, and shoeboxes floated out of one shop. The water was waist-deep by now, and I tiptoed along, holding my shorts up with one hand to keep my wallet and digital camera out of the water as I held my umbrella in front of me in the muddy brown torrent to seek out any obstacles or sewer openings that might trip me up. The metal doors leading to underground parking garages were bent inwards by the force of the flood, which had reached the top step of the Sunrise department store on Fuhsing N. Road.

I kept sloshing my way through the water, down Fuhsing to Chunghsiao, which was also under water. I had to jump over the wakes that passing military trucks left as they drove down the street. The wakes crashed like surf up against the shop fronts. Pedestrians gawked from curbsides that had become more akin to warfs at a port. The entrance to the Sogo Department store parking garage had become a torrential affair, watched by some people in the flooded Friday’s just opposite. Ronald McDonald didn’t seem to notice the catastrophe, however. All along the river that was Chunghsiao East Road, people stared out of upper story windows. I decided to go check on my old landlord, and found the alley where I used to live pretty much submerged. If I were still living there, my motorcycle would have been ruined by the water. I called up to some people sitting in one of the windows in my old apartment, but they said no one by my landlord’s name lived there anymore.

Inexplicably humming “Surfin’ USA” by the Beach Boys, I walked down Dunhua South Road, where some rather large trees had been blown down, and then down Ren-ai to Ta-an Park. There I found a site that made me laugh it was so ludicrous. Some idiot was so worried about his precious SUV, which he presumably bought for its supposed ability to operate in tough situations just such as this, that he actually drove it into the middle of the park and parked it on a small hill where it would be safe from the floods.

Businesses are still closed, of course, and the weather still looks nasty outside, with heavy wind and a barrage of rain, but at least we don’t get so much flooding in this particular area. Although the streetlights downstairs don’t seem to be working, our electricity is still on. Hopefully we’ll get tomorrow off as well, since the city seemed to have taken a real beating. Flooding is three stories high in some areas. I’m also a bit worried that the typhoon will regroup and make a pass at Hong Kong next, which would be bad as I am planning on flying there the day after tomorrow.

posted by Poagao at 9:26 am  

1 Comment

  1. […] in recent years, aside from Morakot a few years back, haven’t been much to talk about. Nari also caused a lot of flooding with massive rainfall, but those two storms were particularly damaging […]

    Pingback by Poagao’s Journal » Weekend storm — August 10, 2015 @ 12:21 pm

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