Thursday, September 2, 2010

Typhoon Kompasu!

Wow, this morning we experienced only the second truly crazy weather pattern I've seen since I got to Korea (the first being the BLIZZARD last January).  Last night we had one of our weekly get-togethers for teachers in our area, this time at Erich's apartment over in Myeongil.  It was especially exciting because 1.) We had all been strewn about the globe for the past few weeks and most of us hadn't seen each other, and 2.) We brought two new people into the fold!  Last week when handing out cookies we met Lee-Rae, an Australian girl who took over Candace's apartment two doors down from me.  I had also met her boyfriend earlier (Michael from Scotland), who happens to live only one stop away at Gangdong.  Shannon did a little investigative work and found out that Michael took over Ed's old position, so he would be in the same cohort as them for winter camp and stuff.  This incited a flurry of exchanged phone numbers and e-mail addresses, and we invited them to our little outing.  I am surprised we didn't scare them off...they are a hearty pair.  Both excellent people I look forward to hanging out with in the future.  We even had a little We-Survived-A-Full-Year! cake, courtesy of Julia and Paris Baguette.

Yaaaay, we made it!

After the festivities died down, I left Erich's to find that it was starting to get a little windy and rainy.  I waited (FOREVER) for the subway, came home, and crashed soon thereafter.  This morning around 4:00am I was awoken by noise of wind and clanging outside.  I drifted in and out of sleep for the next few hours, woken up each time downpours of rain were whipped against my window or a particularly obnoxious sound (I think it was the street sign shaking) made itself known.  When I finally got up and looked out the window it was clear that we were still experiencing Typhoon Kompasu, which tracked directly over Seoul during the early hours of the morning.  Roofing tiles were flying off the building across from me, tarps were snapping in the gusts of wind, and awnings from restaurants and stores were being stressed to (and sometimes beyond) their breaking point.  It was crazytown!  After calling my parents and speaking with my Dad about the storm, I decided to head to school a little early so that I could follow the State Department's advice and get some money out of the ATM.  It was SO windy.  As soon as I got down to the corner my umbrella blew inside out.  I scrambled through the rain and into the little bank vestibule where the ATMs are, only to find out that their network was down.  Probably thanks to the same winds that were making my electricity flicker on and off this morning.

I got on the subway (warily, as I am STILL not sure what would happen if they lost power...I mean there have to be back-up generators, right?) and headed to work without incident.  When I came out of exit 5 at Jamsil it was clear that there was a LOT of destruction.  HUGE trees were down all over the place, smashed through the metal fence and brick walls that separate the apartment complexes from Olympic-ro, the main street that runs in front of Lotte World.  Walking a little further I find out that the ENTIRE huge sidewalk (at least 2 car lanes wide) is eventually blocked by giant downed trees.  I had to walk in the street to get to school and back track twice to avoid areas that were too blocked/treacherous.  When I finally arrived in our office, Yeon Ah was the only one there.  As I sat down she got a text message saying that students didn't have to come in until 11:00am because the storm was so bad.  Finally it blew over and the kids arrived, even though there is NOT A CHANCE IN HELL that we would have had school in the US.  Never run the risk of bringing kids into buildings where there are huge windows surrounding them in high winds...just doesn't make a lot of sense.  Here are some pictures, for your viewing pleasure.

Kompasu in its way to Seoul, 5:33pm last night.

In our faces, 1:33am today.  That is one large storm system...and on the scale here it is a "small" typhoon!

Main street by my house.  Notice the leaves and debris all over.

Trees a-swayin' across the street (and at least one down).

Fighting to keep up our umbrellas in Jamsil.


All the trees just popped out of the ground.  They must have really shitty root systems.

My path to school, now a path of destruction. do I get to school?  Ah, yes, walking in the (ever so safe) bus lane.  During rush hour.

Another large tree down by the other side of the station.

After extensive clean up all day.

All in all, I would not like to be a clean up person in Seoul this year.

1 comment: