September 18, 2007

Typhoon in the Vicinty

We're receiving a pissing of rain this afternoon from Typhoon Wipha which is just north of the island curving north towards Shanghai and then Korea. Typhoons in the late summer are commonplace and rarely cause much destruction here other than some blown out windows on occasion, and some downed bits and pieces of palm tree a little more often.

I've been noticing the rain a lot more these days, as I'm working further afield and the luxury of a cab ride is more difficult to justify than it was when I was just headed down the road. Still, it's nice to arrive warm and dry for a teaching gig.

The rain on Monday night was just beautiful. A fine mist hung in the air like snow on an old black and white television. Even cruising down Chung Ming South Road at moderate speed on the scooter, the rain just felt like a cool spray as you see above tea shops or in flower markets. Refreshing at the end of a hot summer.

On my scooter rides to and from classes, I have time to think about the rain and its effect on my clothing. The effect is usually quite noticeable as I haven't been able to find a satisfactory raincoat in Taiwan these past eight years. I'm eternally optimistic. The one I wore today was crap, but I have another to try tomorrow. Last week, I just went without, telling myself that if I drove fast enough, the rain drops that hit my body would just be blown dry in the airstream created by my trusty 150cc Symco something-or-other moving rapidly down side streets. It seems to work quite well, crouching behind the faring , until I reach a red light. If I can be bothered to stop for such a thing, I get soaked. Tonight, I looked around and noticed that traffic laws mean less and less the worse the weather is. A cop yelled at me for turning left the other day from his shelter on the opposite corner. "Sorry, sir, can't hear you." He wouldn't have ventured out for moon cakes, that's certain.

The rain coat that let me down today was borrowed a week or two ago from the Early Bird. Kiwi Luke left it behind to go gallivanting in Australia, so it's meant to be an extended loan. Problem is, standing up, it hangs to just below my knees, and when I'm straddling my scooter, it rides up to just as far above them. Of course, if the faring theory held water, this wouldn't be a problem. What happens, though, is that all the water that hits me in the shoulders gathers in a pool on my lap, and what doesn't pour down my leg when I put my foot down at red lights, seeps through the zipper and saturates my crotch. This is far from ideal.

Fortunately, my school was only a short distance out of the way as I moved from the jr high to the bike factory, and there waiting for me was my attire for yoga class. Perfect for stretching, but a little too comfortable for teaching a bunch of engineers about Rhetorical Questions. Did I have another choice? No, I didn't. (Rhetorical questions can be used in writing to make the author sound more says the textbook.) The clothes were there to be changed into, and the car was there to be driven and I did. Raincoat problem sorted.

Until it was time to head home. The fine misty rain that I had wanted to bottle in sonnet form had given way to a boisterous and unapologetic downpour. Great big drops that would leave welts on the face of a lesser man fell at a velocity so great that it is above even my ability to comprehend. I bravely mounted my scooter (goddam, I wish I could just call it a motorcycle like the locals do, instead of sounding like such a twit) and headed off home through sometimes flooded and often half-flooded streets.

My legs and naughty bits received the same treatment as earlier in the day, but, as I had not properly buttoned the top snap, there was additional evidence of moisture running down the front of my gray t-shirt as well as a good quart of water sloshing around in each sleeve held in by the elastic cuffs.

I'm dryish now, even after bathing my son who today learned how to fling water from a plastic cup in such a way that it can reach the ceiling in the opposite corner of the bathroom. I looked at him and delivered the Bushism "Bring it on." He did.

Now, any of you anonymous readers out there that feel like sending me a rain coat from whatever part of the globe you feel understands what 3x is really meant to mean, I thank you for your generosity, but no thank you. I'm going to buy a cheap tent and cut some holes in it.

Update: That nasty typhoon is heading for the East Coast of China now. According to MSNBC, (page has a picture of regionally produced raingear) a million folks are being evacuated. Heckuva job 小咖啡色.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

When I lived in Taiwan I was able to perfect the Zen art of riding my scooter between the raindrops as they fell. There is a certain speed that coupled with a precise weaving, allows for the rider to hit a zone of dryness in the heaviest of downpours.

Perhaps, 6 foot 10 giants aren't able to reach this point of enlightenment.