Monday, October 25, 2010

The Perfect Storm

On Saturday, Typhoon Megi (Chinese: 鲇鱼, catfish) hit Mainland China. It was one of the strongest tropical cyclones ever recorded.

The day before the storm, I got an email:

Due to the typhoon, tomorrow’s electives have been cancelled. Please tell the other foreign teacher.

(There are two benefits to being the more senior fellow at this particular post. The first is that I am now the foreign teacher that the school administrator sends emails to, rather than the foreign teacher who has to get his information from the other foreign teacher. In any case she doesn’t know either of our names.

Also, I got a raise: 59 extra American dollars per month.)

The reports in the newspaper that morning were dire, too. I subscribe to the Guangzhou Daily but do not read it because I rarely have the energy to decipher anything past the headlines (which, fortunately, are set in large type and often accompany large pictures — all of which make “reading” the Chinese unnecessary, much like free speech and diapers), but in this case the headlines were all I needed: a big storm was coming, and fast.

I considered storm-proofing our windows. I had been led to believe that this is what one does when a tempest hits.

Then, the typhoon!

Typhoon

The streets were deserted.

Deserted

Terrifying.

School

Obviously I’m hoping that this never happens again.