Miles from Home

China Commentary– Youthful Musings on the Environment, Culture & Development

Wipha 来了

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I woke up this morning unaware.  My nose has been buried in books, and Chinese tv isn’t much of a draw for procrastination purposes.  So, it was up and off to class as usual.  Outside was cool and a light rain was falling on the courtyard below.  Days before, under similar conditions, I had attempted walking to class.  What a drag.  By the time I got there I was sweating and wet up to the knee.  This morning would be different; like they say, when in Rome…

I grabbed my rinkydink turquoise umbrella, hopped on my squeaky half-new/half-broken bicycle and weathered the storm.  Squeaking with each peddle turn, I focused on not running over a civilian or being run over myself by hectic Chinese traffic– all while maintaining a turtleshell’s worth of rain protection with my offhand.  That’s right, Mary Poppins style.  I see Chinese do it all the time, I thought to myself.  And then I thought about some of the other things I see Chinese people do all the time… yikes.

Typhoon Wipha is expected to smash Shanghai’s coast between tonight and tomorrow morning. The drizzle of morning rain has increased steadily all day.  Around 3 o’clock this afternoon the skies were dark enough for me to wonder whether the sun had finally burnt out. It’s better now. A bit clearer, but that won’t last.

Certain areas of the world have different names for natural disasters. This will be my first “hurricane” in Western terms. I survived about a dozen minor earthquakes in Taiwan. Yet, I never had a typhoon hit while living there. Three have crossed over the tiny subtropical island in the one month since I departed.

Cross-strait charter flights also began today, connecting Taiwan and China for the coming Moon (Mid-Autumn) Festival. It’s rather symbolic that Wipha is spinning dead-center in the middle of the strait between Shanghai and Taipei. Only 24 flights offered by 12 airlines will fly from now to October 5. The local news agencies have cameramen at the airport shooting footage of people boarding these flights. The passengers are walking down a narrow hallway, with bored faces, looking completely and utterly normal. And yet, the weirdness of it all speaks to the differences– the hype, the simplicity of cooperation, the stubbornness of governments, notions of identity, bureaucracy, this incessant storm battering these communities.


Written by Miles

September 18, 2007 at 9:29 am

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