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checking in: safe
singapore sunset
amw
I have been meaning to write an entry about how the linguistics of Chinese provide some illumination into the culture for me, but my week got interrupted by a typhoon. Yesterday i heard it was coming in, though i didn't really think much about it because it wasn't a big one. It's hard to get caught up in the worry when you never watch television and can't understand local media anyway. Early this morning it jumped up from a Cat 1 to a Cat 2, and i was given the "option" to reschedule my classes. I am beginning to recognize this as a Chinese way of asking directly. I am not on any kind of deadline, so i said sure and could almost hear the sigh of relief over WeChat.

Landfall was due at noon, so i figured i had some time to get a coffee and pick up some supplies for the day. Almost all the stores that are usually open and bustling were battened down, and the rain had already created ankle-deep torrents on the streets. I wore shorts and sandals and sloshed my way over to the coffee shop. Almost immediately after i sat down, the wind blew the door off its hinges and then it toppled over and smashed into a million pieces. Given the whole storefront was glass, this was a little disconcerting. The kids weren't really sure what to do, but people were still making their way through the storm to get coffee, so they started to sweep it up. I really wish i knew enough of the language to help them out or suggest they tape the other windows. I left just as one of the girls cut her hand open on the glass while cleaning. The exit was still deep in broken glass, but the resilience of the workers inspired me to stoically risk my own injury.

The toughest lady of all was the 路边摊 (lù biān tān) or street vendor who had set up a tent over her stall and - with all the other stores closed - was feeding the whole damn neighborhood. Her kids were holding the edges of the tent down so it didn't blow away, and she was mixing up noodles and 凉皮 (liáng pí) a hundred miles an hour as water streamed across the sidewalk. I got my usual 凉皮 and some 葱油饼 (cōng yóu bǐng), which is a pancake-like flatbread. I would have gotten the new noodle i discovered last night - 热干面 (rè gān miàn) or hot dry noodles - but i figured better to get something cold i could eat later in the day. (Side note: this week i also discovered 炸酱面 (zhá jiàng miàn) which is delicious but appears to have a smidgen of ground pork for flavoring, so i won't order it again.) I also grabbed some fried horse beans and spicy dry tofu from the convenience store before heading back to my room.

Since my room is a concrete block with no windows, i didn't see any of the storm aside from the news. Big storm surges. Plenty of smashed windows. Flooding in the fishing villages. Some trees fell on cars. But nothing too major, i don't think. Still, not the kind of weather you want to walk around in. I hope the noodle lady and the coffee kids are okay.

I watched the last few episodes of Supernatural season 12 and started catching up on Lucha Underground. About an hour ago i sat down to watch NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn III, when i got a knock on my door. I hastily pulled on a shirt and was given a box by a guy who left before i could ask what it was. When i opened it, i found a bento with a receipt listing my room number on it. I guess the hotel must have bought everyone dinner. The people who didn't brave the weather this morning to get supplies would have been starving by now. The meal is/was huge - a massive rice box with fried chicken, that ground pork/gravy stuff they use in the aforementioned 炸酱面, bak choi, some kind of pickle and a tea egg. Oh, and a can of non-diet Coke. I could probably live a full day off of all that. I had already finished all my snacks and wasn't expecting any more so i am eating it very slowly, and i will fall asleep very fat. The good news is i'm safe.

Thanks for your comments, by the way. I have been meaning to reply but i am not spending much time online in a "switched on" way where i have time to compose a response. Will do soon.

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I have been watching that Typhoon edging its way into all the Facebook feeds of everyone I know in Hong Kong. I sort of wish I was there.

It turned out that something like 12 people died, though i think they were all in Macao/Zhuhai and over that side of the delta. Disaster is nothing to really celebrate, but i get sort of wishing to be there. There is an odd appeal to being part of a community that bands together and stares down the fury of nature.

that sounds both scary and exciting. (crazy weather like that excites me.) i'm glad you didn't wash away! also, your posts always make me hungry even tho i don't recognize at least half the food you mention.

Haha! Maybe i should start taking foodblogger-esque photos. I generally feel like a bit of a wanker taking photos of food, but seeing as most of what i eat is takeout i could get away with it.

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