November 02, 2013

The Earthquake - and a big one...

As if the land was floating....

And so it happened.

Deep in thoughts over my books, working on a reports, I didn't notice the rattling sound to start with. It was special note, like a kind of humming, the way the bumble bees sound in the early spring when they have just woken up, a tone that is hard to describe but you can feel in your stomach.

I didn't notice until I feel the buzzing feeling in my legs, the feeling I identify with my blood sugar getting low – and it would have been about the right time for it, I had been focusing hard on the studies and it was well past the time for the next meal. I did also suspect that that was what it was. But when I raised my head up I noticed a new sound, a different rattling, almost.. Well, almost like the sound of a bed hitting against the wall as if someone was having incredible sex in the room next door, there is simply no other way to describe it, it was so rhythmic that it was the only thing I could think, it just got into my head and I almost blushed; And half a second later I realised that the sound came from my room, and the shaking was not me and my blood sugar getting low; It was the whole room vibrating.

And that's when I realised it.

The earthquake that I had been expecting. It had finally hit. The same day our teacher incorporated "Earthquake" in one of our dialogues, 地震 (dizhen), the same day the big quake happened. If an earthquake couldn't be so devastating, it would have been a funny coincident, now it was just a creepy one.

Captured on the way from 921 museum
Remembering the advice and the training we got with the company I used to work for I didn't run out; We learnt that debris falling from buildings may be more dangerous than actually remaining in the building if the building is a stable one – and in the temporary place I am still in is, or at least gives the impression of being a stable building; And where was I to run. The quake wasn't that strong anyhow and I'd rather wait for the shaking to stop and then decide what to do – but I did go and stand in the door post, somewhere I learnt that this is a good place to be, or under a sturdy table; Anywhere where things won't fall onto you if things start coming down. Not even a bottle fell in my room though, although I had taken measures before and moved things out of the way - I learnt something from my visit to the Earthquake museum... 

It lasted for what felt like an eternity, and the feeling was that of standing on a piece of something, something that was just floating on top of the surface; A very surreal feeling. And then, as unexpected as it has started, it was over.

I thought that it maybe was a four but relatively close.

And then I looked at the US earthquake report page and noticed that they had reported a 6.6.
As soon as Taiwan updated their earthquake website I got a new number, Taiwan measured 6.3.

The difference was that the quake wasn't close, but rather on the opposite side of Taiwan; In Hualien, not far from Yilan county, where I was the previous weekend. A quake that can be felt that far away – that is a big quake...

No fatalities reported as far as I have been able to see, nor any major damage – at least not according to the English speaking media. The only fatality is the big yellow duck that apparently didn't make it - see the link from Channel News Asia (The Big Yellow Duck is an art project by dutch artist Florentijn Hofman, follow the link to learn more).

It's hard to imagine that you can get somewhat used to nature behaving like this.  


Link to US based Earthquake Hazard Program who reports on earthquakes here.

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