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14. My First Typhoon Experience

When I heard the word Typhoon the only thing that I thought was in total chaos, a very destructive almighty cyclone that devastates everything it touches, reaching high speed winds with tons of rain, taking off the trees from the ground and making the roofs of the buildings fly away.

Typhoon is the word that I will not forget in my life. I came from Saudi Arabia and we do not have storms or heavy rain. When my friends told me that Typhoon is coming, I thought that “Typhoon” is someone’s name p and I did not care about it. That’s the first time I heard about Typhoon.

I heard that a typhoon was going to pass through Taiwan. At first I didn't know what to expect from a “typhoon”. In my country we have hurricanes, which are devastating to both population and infrastructure. But here typhoons are somewhat common.

The Typhoon occurred on September 14th has been one of the most astonishing and terrific experience lived through my whole life; I had no idea what was a Typhoon about, I only did know that it is related or is a kind of similar with Hurricanes in some ways, because they are almost the same, so anyway I had to face up to it in the street when some of my classmates and me did come back from Mass at a catholic church in Tainan city; we were waiting for the line bus number two which covered Tainan city to An ping beach, we were sit on the bus stop about 1p.m., when suddenly started raining a pouring rain, at that time everything seemed to be normal, but so far no many minutes later a lot of gust of strong winds started to blow anything over there including all of us, we were really scared about it, because everything there looked like were going to fall down, then we saw the bus was arriving to the bus stop, but what a shame, It really did not stop because it was full of passenger so we had to walk in the middle of the rain and winds…I mean in the Typhoon, well actually in that moment the winds started to slow down little by little and we got to the school as soon as the speed of the wind rushes.
 

I found my first experience with typhoon very interesting, because in my country, which is El Salvador, we do not have this kind of natural events, we have rains that can last for 2 or 3 days but there is not so much wind as typhoons bring, so when I heard one was coming, I was excited to know I would experience one.

The people around in the Dorm were constantly mumbling that there was an approaching Typhoon. Everyone sat in the lobby area of the Dorm with eyes fixed on the Television to visually interpret the direction and the projected path. Even though I could not understand what was being broadcasted, I perceived that there would be wind and rain and that we would have to remained confined to our rooms.

My name is Karla Navarrete, I'm from El Salvador in Central America. As you may understand most of the things here are new to me: the language, the customs, the food and above all things the weather. Once I got out of the airport, I knew I was not home anymore. The temperature here is warmer and more humid than in my country and especially, more prone to typhoons….. Since my arrival here there have been at least two very strong typhoons: I'm talking about Sinlaku which arrived to Taiwan approximately on September 10, 2008 and Jangmi, which arrived approximately on September 21, 2008. Fortunately here at our neighborhood (close to Shipai MRT Station), there hasn't been much damage, only a few minor things, like broken umbrellas, uprooted trees, broken tree branches, wet dorm rooms, lost weekend plans and lost laundry.

On the very beginning I have to admit that travel to Taiwan was very exciting experience. I am European being the first time in Taiwan, even in Asia. Thus I found this place extremely different in comparison to the environment I was living in. There are several things I was afraid of: food, experience with new, exotic language, people I am going to meet and of course weather conditions which, unfortunately, I am not familiar with. High temperatures and humidity are not my 'friends' but I have to admit that each day I am slowly getting used to. At the beginning it was quite difficult to stand, nevertheless today it is not my major daily-life issue. Of course it was not that easy I expected. Taiwan is very special place where you can observe phenomena which I was able only watch on a TV thus far – typhoons. Naturally, I was aware of such fact, but you can tell how it really is only when you have opportunity to come up against. Since my arrival I encountered three typhoons. I am no able to asses their strength, even though the severity of each was overwhelming to me.

My first typhoon experience was quite interesting and very entertaining. When I was told there was going to be a typhoon, I just wonder want will it be like so I was waiting for it eagerly despite the fact that I was really scared, because in my Country (The Gambia) we don’t have this kind of natural disasters.