1 minute read

By Tom Cain

The natural phenomenons in England are pretty tame. We have some bad floods which seriously inconvenience some towns in the UK. We have had a tornado which made a bin fall over once. Generally though, British weather isn’t much of a problem. Its cold, it rains a lot of the time and we get maybe 3 days of real summer, the rest is overcast.

When I arrive in Taiwan for the first time a number of years ago, I was in a hotel room in Taipei speaking to my sister on Facetime and discussing how weird it is that I am on the opposite side of the world and that I will be living here, when I noticed the shadows shifting across the floor in a peculiar manner. I thought to myself, ‘I must have jet lag or something’. Then I looked up to see the hanging light swinging on its stem.

‘Oh wow, it must be an earthquake’ I said to my sister, quite interested in having experienced one. Not scared stupidly. Just curious. I peered out the hotel window to see some shifting bike and shaking windows but nothing to untoward. luckily.

Since then I have experience many more. there are far more earthquakes in Taiwan than you think. Usually quite small ones and some completely undetectable by you or I.

A notable one was during our stay in Nantun in Taichung. We lived on the 7th floor of an apartment building and at the time I was going for a wee. The strength of that particular earthquake made me miss my marker by some margin and wobbled me on my feet. That one made me nervous. I had a pregnant wife and a one year old sleeping on the lower floor.

Now the argument is, if in a big earthquake and you live in the middle of an apartment building, do you go up or down? To roof and hope the building doesn’t fall. Or if it does you may be able to ride the roof down to the floor. Or do you go down and risk being buried? Tough choice. Luckily the earthquake that time was only strong enough to make me wee on the floor and the after shocks weren’t so bad.

Standing in doorways and hiding in bathtubs is good if things are falling from the ceiling. But if its really big, you want to get out pretty quick. All of your instincts kick in and you really just want to run.

When living in another area of Taichung we got the brunt of a typhoon passing through from the East. That one smashed windows, blew bicycles down the road, toppled scooters galore. I nearly got blown from my motorbike in the middle of the city also. Weather can get pretty funky in Taiwan.

I can only imagine being in a magnitude 7+. Must be terrifying and awful.