Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Weather and flu

Okay, so we live in the tropics. As I have said when in the West one can hear the phrase, "If you keep digging, you will dig a hole to China." So I checked and if we dig too deeply here, we will end up in Havana Cuba area. So one can expect it to be hot but this is really getting oppressive. The heat index for the last several days has been 111 degrees F. It is so hot that there is very little milk in the stores because the cows refuse to give milk. Poor Carol has been doing at least 4+ shirts a day in the laundry and the air con barely pulls the temp down to 27-28 degrees C.

Hydration is a huge issue so we should invest in our water company given the amount of usage. This is a time when I wish I had hair so it could at least absorb some amount of liquid on my head instead of it just sitting there like a lake.

The stores are also running very low on fruits and vegetables as a result of the destruction from the typhoon. Many people can still not get into their villages and if they can, must do so on foot because the roads and bridges are gone. The government is still screaming invectives at its own pieces and parts trying to pass blame. One official was getting his hair dyed. Another was at a high end dinner party. And the president was no where to be found when they should have been meeting and being effective in crisis management. The whole issue with not accepting overseas aid when it was originally offered was to appease the PRC. If Taiwan accepted aid, then it would seem like it was a real country not just a province of the mainland. Evil.

And then there is the H1N1 flu.....We have been told that a school closure, either moderate or long term is all but inevitable. We have had 1 case so far and will start having mandatory temperature testing prior to entry into the school staring Thursday. We also have the capacity to "teach" and communicate with all our students via an online classroom so we are all getting that in fine order. How this will affect our current rehearsals for the musical is not a pretty picture, but what is is.

Pray for this little island.

More later


Monday, August 17, 2009

Taiwan Update Rain and Rocking

Hello dear friends,

We thought it best to let you know that we have arrived safely in Taipei and are happily doing well.

We arrived @ 5:45am on Friday the day typhoon Morakot hit. Basically, the airport closed behind us. We had no idea that there even WAS a typhoon until we began our descent. So no problem really. We immediately went to the stores to restock since we had nothing in the apartment for food, drink, or supplies. Therein ensued two typhoon days where everything is basically shut down.

Our area sustained only minor damage from the winds but as you know, the rain was intense. On the Friday we arrived we had 8 inches of rain from midnight to 8AM and that was before the typhoon actually hit. I think the total was somewhere around 1500 to 2000 mm of rain in the south.

The government response has triggered such intense anger and hatred by most all Taiwanese folks. Carol's friends are not sleeping and are in extreme mental/emotional distress because even with no relatives, "our people are suffereing and the government is not helping them." The political fallout from this could be a game changer.

It is too bad that the world sees only Taiwan's disasters because it again makes the country look like a 3rd world nation. This is so far from the truth. When we got back here, it was like stepping into the best of NY city or Gold Coast Chicago...abundant, rich in variety, and gracious in service. The mud and destroyed roads give a horrible picture of what was incredible beauty and highly productive communities.

It is anticipated that food prices especially on fruits and veggies will rise 40% if not more.

THEN, yesterday, Aug 18th I was in class with students when one of them said calmly, "Earthquake." Sure enough my butt started moving with a life of its own as I sat on my stool and resulted in lap dance moves that would have made a hooker proud. I told the students to get under the desks and then responded without question. It was over in a few seconds and many folks did not even notice the quake. Below is the news report. I will put more info after the report so skip down if you wish.


"A second earthquake rocked Taiwan yesterday, the central weather bureau said, but there was no immediate report of damages or casualties.

A 6.1-magnitude quake hit at 06:10p.m. yesterday some 204 km off the east coast of Taiwan at a depth of 20 km and was felt even in the capital Taipei, the bureau said.

It came after a 6.8-magnitude quake struck off Taiwan's east coast at 9:06 a.m. yesterday, prompting Japan to issue a tsunami warning for its islands in the East China Sea, close to Taiwan.

Taiwan is regularly hit by earthquakes as the island lies near the junction of two tectonic plates. A 7.6-magnitude quake killed around 2,400 people in September 1999.

I will try to be more faithful in getting stuff posted here.

Thanks to all our friends and loved ones we were able to see this summer and sadly, we did not get to everyone we wanted to be with. Please forgive us and let us hope for next summer.

From Taiwan,

Our best,
Bill and Carol