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14. My First Typhoon Experience

Speaking of typhoon to average Gambians, some would probably be wondering what you talking about, since these natural calamities such as typhoons; hurricanes; earth quakes; mud slides; etc. are mostly uncommon in that part of the globe.

Yet here I was on Saturday the 6th of October, 2007 having my first experience of a major devastating typhoon Krosa battering this small Island, bringing fierce winds and heavy downpour of rains and flooding in parts of the low lying plains of Taiwan. Most of the impact of krosa was felt around the north where the wind traveling at 150mph left a mark of devastating destruction to property, 52 injuries and lost of 7 lives as reported by the Central Weather Bureau.

Hi everyone, I'm Diana Flores from Tegucigalpa Honduras. I am studying a master in Civil Engineering and Management at NCKU in Tainan City and now I want to share with you my experience with typhoons.

In this first month living in Taiwan, I have been the opportunity to meet very kind and nice people, know more about Local culture and share my knowledge and friendship. But during this time, I have also experienced a very usual event here: Typhoons.

A typhoon is coming get prepared! I heard from the dorm announcer. My first reaction was: What? What is that? How can I prepare for that? As soon as possible I went to the supermarket in the campus and bought soup, fruits and juices because a friend told me to. Lots of people were coming out from the supermarket, restaurants and seven eleven’s packed up with food supplies. I remember just thinking oh my God is it that terrible? My answer came two days after the Typhoon left. I really was surprised of the rain, the wind and the better off I was staying in the dorm. This was my first experience of a typhoon, gladly this is my second year and I know what to expect or do now.

As an inhabitant of a Caribbean country frequently punished by tropical storms, there is not much new for me in what such a phenomenon looks like.

For us, it’s hurricanes. Here, it’s typhoons. But before witnessing the effects of the Jangmi and Sinlaku typhoons in Taiwan, I had never heard so close to my home’s windows the chilling whistles of the powerful wind.

臺灣是一個小島國。它在太平洋上面,一年有四個季節。我在台南住了一年了,這裡常常很熱,特別是暑假。十月以後氣候比較冷,所以人們需要戴手套,帽子跟穿外套。夏天和秋天臺灣有很多颱風,今年有四個颱風,它們都經過這個國家。兩個禮拜以前(九月二十七號)今年最大的颱風經過臺灣。它的威力很強可是沒有人死掉。它造成的風速是144KM/H, 而且它移動的速度有24KM/H。

First of all I haven’t been in a typhoon like these in my entire life. I’m from El Salvador, and we had a hurricane about 4 years ago or more. I don’t remember pretty well how it was. I am sure that it was nothing compared to the typhoons here in Taiwan. I just remember that on that occasion the government spread the news by television, and the headlines was like this: “Hurricane will strike El Salvador coasts tonight”.

My first experience with one typhoon wasn’t very awful; actually it was very normal considering that typhoons are very common in Asia. Almost everyone of the international students already know about what a typhoon is, because almost everyone are from Central America, and we have hurricanes in our countries. Anyway, when the news said that Taiwan would be hit by a typhoon, all the international students were looking for food, water, and some other important things to spend the time in the room. We were expecting that the typhoon wouldn’t let us go out, and in that case we were prepared for that.

Many rumors every where. Taiwan is the country with more earthquakes on earth, Taiwan is a really small island you can go around it in a couple of days. Taiwan people eat dogs, cats, cucarachas, rats, all types of insects. Still the plane was about to take off and my family and I were nervous about this trip, I greeted them for the last time, I went upstairs and I did not see them again. The air trip was long but finally we are here. I started analyzing to see if what I had heard was true. My conclusion was, no. However, there is something no one mentioned, a word I have never heard before, Typhoon.

My first typhoon-given holiday was my worst holiday ever; a blunt day of freedom, battered by my room walls of boredom. It was bitter sweet. To have been informed that my weekend would be extended because of a typhoon was an instant bliss. The mere idea of having an extra day to myself was nothing but happy thoughts. A day to eat, to sleep, and enjoy the pleasures of being in Taiwan, was the prime justification behind my planning. I would eat a burger from La Guardia, and maybe then take a walk down BeiMen Lu. But no hurry, for I had an entire day ahead of me! Little did I know that this day would have granted less fun that was perceived, for through all my plans, I failed to take into consideration the dark stormy winds, side kicked by the rain, washing away the flesh off the surroundings. It was a total disappointment!

Well, the story begins when I was trying to think about what can I do just to pass the time on the typhoon, since I’ve already finished out all my homeworks, so that day we started to talk with some friends here at KSU about what we can do just to pass the storm??? “Hmmm, I think that we can go to Tainan city and see what happens?” one of my friends told me, another one says “No I think it’s too risky to go out because we can get hit by a brickwall or something like that”, so after we gave our personal opinions as a group, we decided to go to church since that was the only day where we can receive a Spanish Misa (the catholic celebration), so we decided to take out our fear and we went to Tainan city in the middle of the typhoon.