Sightseeing And Practicing My Survival Skills: Taipei And A Super Typhoon

Being Naive Is NOT Always Good. 

While we were visiting Taipei we just happened to be there during a Typhoon. I have never been through a tornado or a hurricane, so this was pretty exciting. It was our third day and our last day in Taiwan. We had planned on trying to go further up north on the subway. We wanted to see a couple of temples and a a market near that Tamsui stop. While getting ready we were watching are one and only English channel (CNN). They mentioned that super typhoon Dujuan was heading to Taiwan. This was the first that we had heard of it. For whatever reason we did not think it was a big deal and headed out.

We headed out for the temples. Sadly the Confucius temple was closed (on his birthday). It was sad but we went to another temple, Dalongdong Baoan Temple, was still open and was beautiful. (Both Temples were off the Yuanshan stop on the red line) At first the rain and wind were not terrible. As we were int he temple it started to get worst. We decided to head to a coffee shop to try and stay out of the rain for a little bit. I was sick and feeling really out of it. We found a Starbucks (the area wasn’t the best urban place) so we camped out for like 3 hours.

The rain just kept coming down and the wind was getting stronger. We didn’t really know what to do. We wanted to go up north but the rain was just not stopping. So we had to make a tough decision to just go home. Little did we know that the trains up north were actually about to shut down and if we had tried to go farther north would have been stuck up there.

Being Woken Up From Our Naivety
Seeing A Man Escape Death

When we got back to the neighborhood that our hotel the rain was coming down pretty strong and the wind was bad. We still did not understand the reality of the situation so we went to try and find some moon cakes. While we were in there, I felt really hot and sick so I stepped outside. While out there the electricity went out. Right there I knew that this was a “serious” storm, not because of the electricity but because at that same moment I was looking across the road, heard the sound of metal smashing against a building. Followed by the scratching of the metal falling down the side of a building. I didn’t know where it was coming from but it was so loud. I then saw it. The metal sign ping-ponged between two buildings blew up into the air a little and then came crashing down. A man below the sign on the road ran for his life, barely escaping the sign that was about to crush him.

After that I saw that a sliding security door (like a garage door) from a department store had been blown off its tracks and was slightly blown inside the building. The department store had been evacuated for safety reasons. Police were establishing themselves for safety reasons.

The survival skills that I was not sure I had kicked in. I grabbed my friend and I had a plan without thinking. We had to get to our hotel. We could take a taxi but that would mean having to stand out in the rain to flag one down. It wasn’t safe to do that and the traffic was bad. To be honest I didn’t trust that nothing would fall on the car while we were in it. Taipei has these big cover walkways attached to buildings that I trusted to protect us better than a car.

So we ran. Stopping to catch our breath or to decide our next move. We kept one arm free in order to block anything that may fly at us. We ran and ran and ran. We made a stop at a 711 to pick up food and water just in case this was going to be a long storm (I am from Texas we always have supplies).

While we were crossing our last street I heard the same metal scrapping sound when I saw the man escape death. I knew that a sign was blowing in the wind but I couldn’t see it. So we just ran faster to get under the cover walkway. We made it right before a Starbucks sign blew a little ahead of us but was stopped by parked motorcycles.

Finally, we made it to our hotel room. We were drenched but we were happy to be safe inside. I think this experience will always be stuck in my head. I remember the change to survival mode. While running I wasn’t thinking of much except to stay alert and to plan on stopping anything if it blew towards me. Afterwards, I was shocked that I went through that. It still seems unrealistic and movie-like. It will probably always be one of those stories that I am excited to tell.

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