This week the general southeast Asia environs has been weathering Typhoon Megi– formerly downgraded to a tropical storm, and then upgraded again to a Typhoon. Luckily, it has not actually HIT Taiwan, per se, but we have had steady and at times relentless rain all week. Today, we have some wind! Yum.
I’ve realized that Taipei weather is not unlike Boston weather, so no surprise that locals and visitors to both places love to talk (and complain) about it! This has led me to compose a “Weather Mad Lib,” in which you can plug in either Boston terms (rain, snow, sleet, cold, “wintry mix”), or Taipei terms (rain, humidity, hot, fog, wind, typhoon, earthquake):
Hi there, can you believe the _______ today? I mean, come on, yesterday’s ______ was pretty bad, I didn’t think it would get worse! I know, right? It’s more _____ than I remember it being, since the ______ in ____ of last year. Well, that’s not so bad. This morning, it ______ed, maybe it will _______ again later today. Don’t count your chickens. Usually when it ______s here, you’ll be _____ing ____ all day, maybe even all week. Has anyone seen the weather report? Oh, don’t trust them, they said it would be only a 20% chance of _____, and it’s been _____ like this since last night. The _____ woke me up at dawn!
Since I have been sick this week, most of my encounters with the rain have been on the occasional dart down to 7-11 for noodles or instant ramen soup. But last night, I ventured out to the streets, where my trusty fried sweet potato lady who has a food stand on my corner promised me that the storm was over. Unfortunately, she spoke too soon. Our Chinese teacher today had watched the more scientific weather report, and said it wouldn’t end until next Wednesday.
Why are we getting typhoons so late in the year? I wondered. According to Lonely Planet, some of the best weather in Taipei is supposed to happen in October and November– cooler temperatures and drier climates! Apparently, Typhoon Season has been known to last until November, and then, our Chinese teacher informed us to my dismay, the winter “rainy season begins.” What about spring, I asked, trying out all of my seasonal and time-centric vocab. “It rains,” she answered, shaking her head. And then summer? “Typhoon season again.” So it rains, “si ji!” I announced, recalling the phrase for all four seasons. “Yes,” she answered, not apologetic, but not proud. Merely shrugging with the facts of life. “Taiwan is a very rainy place.”
If every season is *potentially* a rainy one, an umbrella is a very important accessory to own. After class, I found out just how important when a strong wind suddenly upturned my huge polka-dotted umbrella, whipped it inside out, and THEN swept it in a spiral around my head. My friend attempted to help me pop it back into place, but the typhoon-inspired winds had done their worst work: it was demolished. I’ve never seen an umbrella pop so many spokes or look so lame, so quickly.
So where else to go? 7-11, for an upgrade. My new umbrella is sturdier, heftier, and though it is also heavier, I am confident that it will help me battle out the intermittent rain for the next 10-12 months… or at least for the next week!
When I got home, I did some thinking about Rainy Weather Fashion, a staple in Boston, my former home. There, we had to outfit ourselves for pedestrian commuting in all varieties of rain, snow, wind, sleet– Bostonians really do possess the fortitude of postmen when it comes to commuting, that or they buy a car! So I thought about the tricks I used to use to keep my feet dry, avoid the dreaded soaked-jean-leg, preclude the possibility of rain down the back of my neck. Below are the Rain Fashion outfits I came up with.
What about you? How do you weather your less than pleasant weather?