Tuesday, September 16: Today, high winds are blowing across our little campus and neatly sweeping away the heat and humidity. We’ve had some sudden bursts of rain, and more is forecast. This has encouraged the dust to settle down a bit, and has beckoned me to open my windows. Outside, the weeping willow trees across the pond are billowing and the trees outside my window are dancing with gusto. I love the gushes of wind and the shushing of the trees.
Typhoon Kalmaegi, the Korean word for seagull, is coming to town. Or at least it’s passing by on its way to somewhere else. As I’m already tired of the heat and humidity, I’m thrilled to experience this bit of climate change.
Here’s Tuesday’s news about the Typhoon: Typhoon Kalmaegi Kills 10 in the Philippines; Hong Kong Braces for Brush with Storm
I’m oblivious to the fact that this storm is Typhoon Kalmaegi until I get this letter, addressed to all the teachers, from the university today.
As Typhoon Kalmaegi is coming, it is probably that there will be continuous strong rainfall as well as windstorm in these days. We kindly remind you that when Typhoon Usagi comes, please be aware of the following things:
First of all, strong winds may blow down buildings and installations in high places, causing casualties or even deaths. Therefore, do not take shelter from rain near temporary constructions, billboards and towers. If you have a car, avoid driving in areas influenced by strong wind. Remove flowerpots and things hanging outside your apartment. Check your windows and doors and fasten them if necessary. Check the circuit inside your room. Pay attention to the prevention of fire. Do not use computer when there are thunder and lightning.
Second of all, please prepare a torch, a radio, some food, drinking water and some necessary medicine if you think it is necessary. Clean pipelines timely so as to keep the drainage system inside your room unobstructed.
Thirdly, when typhoon comes, stop all activities outside, and stay at your apartment. If you have to walk outside, you have to wear waterproof shoes and tight, formfitting clothes. Button up your clothes or have them fastened with belts in order to minimize your body area exposed to the wind. Wear a raincoat or, if necessary, a helmet when you go into the rain. When you walk into the storm, you should walk slowly and do not try to “run before the wind”. You should absolutely not running along the direction of the wind, or else you will find it very difficult to stop—you even have the danger to be blown away. Try your best to grab a fence, a pillar or anything that is well fastened. Be aware of things following down. When you are turning a corner, you should take a pause and observe nearby environment. When you are crossing a narrow bridge when there is a strong wind, try to crawl instead of walk in case you will be blown away of fall into the water. Do not step into water, especially inside the campus. If you have to, be aware of the depth of the water.
Sometimes there will be power cut during the hitting of typhoon. If so, please calm down.
Three of us calm down sufficiently to walk to a BBQ dinner on a street quite a distance from campus. Our trek there is uneventful, but as we leave the restaurant, the sky opens up. We attempt to dodge the downpour by dipping in shop doors and stopping for shelter in an ice cream shop, where of course we have to sample the goods. Nonetheless, we are drenched to our cores by the time we get home. It certainly is an adventure. 🙂
The typhoon is not hitting us directly here in Nanning. It’s just passing through on its way to some distant locale, and we’re feeling its repercussions, much like folks who live inland in Virginia do when hurricanes hit the East Coast of the USA. The coastal areas get hit hard, while those inland just get strong winds, a downpour or two, and possibly some flooding.
It’s really not that bad, but as we travel on foot or by bicycle, it does make for an inconvenience.
Wednesday, September 17: More bursts of rain, especially this morning. I was glad I didn’t have to go out in it, because the trees and sky looked violently angry, shaking their weeping willow and palm frond hair as if they were at a wild dance party. I had a very lazy morning reading Travels with Charley and plotting where to go in China when I get a holiday.
Speaking of holidays, we have a week off for the National Day of the People’s Republic of China from October 1-7. It’s much too soon for a holiday as we’re just getting underway with our classes. Plus we hardly have any money because we’ll have received only one paycheck by then. On top of that, three of us new teachers had to go to the police station today to take our passports, along with results of our medical exam and other paperwork, to apply for our residence permits. We are told we won’t get our passports back until October 13! That means that travel outside of China is impossible. It also means there will be difficulties traveling within China, as hotels generally require a passport. The police assured me I could use the stamped receipt, which hotels are obligated to honor. I sure hope so, because I’d hate to take a train somewhere and then be refused admittance to all hotels. I can envision myself squatting on a street corner with my suitcase, waiting until I can catch another train home.
This evening, a group of us teachers go out for dumplings. While we’re warm and dry in the restaurant, enjoying a huge spread of dishes, we hear a roar as the rain clouds let loose. Walking home, we wade through puddles up to our ankles. Luckily the downpour has ended, but our feet and legs are soaked.
Tonight, I chat with Mike by Skype and he tells me that fall is in the air there, with temperatures dropping to 55 F. I’m so envious! If I go abroad again after this year, I simply must find a northern clime, with four distinct seasons. These hot climates really don’t suit my personality.
Thursday, September 18: This morning, it seems the typhoon has passed. We attend a teachers’ meeting, slicing our way through thick humid air. I thought the typhoon would clear out the moisture, but it’s only made it worse.
Later this afternoon, we’re hit with another downpour. I’ve been hunkering down inside, tired of getting drenched every time I go out. Now, as I sit in my apartment looking over the pond, I believe I can see some blue skies in the last waning light before sundown. I’m ready now for this typhoon to move along and leave us in relative peace.