Friday, July 16, 2004

Hard Rain
Typhoon Komasu paid Hong Kong a visit Friday morning, causing the city to go into a tizzy of sorts when tropical cyclone warning signal "8" was hoisted - meaning that schools and a lot of businesses would close as well as ferry service to outlying islands. I was blissfully unaware of any of this until about 11:30 am when I awoke - startled at the absence of the by-now familiar 8 am-7 pm symphony of jack hammers and pile drivers outside my window. It was overcast, windy and refreshingly cool and discounting the TV announcers who were urging people to stay indoors if they could, I decided to try to get some lunch at what I call "SARS-Ville Mall" - an indoor mall located at the base of  nearby Amoy Gardens - Ground Zero for last year's SARS outbreak..
Things looked wet and a little windy from the 24th floor, but it wasn't until I hit the doors to exit my complex that I realized it wasn't a great idea. The set-up of the Tak Bo Gardens buildings and courtyard created a wind-tunnel of sorts that increased the wind's force to the point that walking three feet with an open umbrella was both an exercise in sheer futility as well as inadvertant slapstick comedy for anyone who was watching.
Suddendly that box of instant noodles and leftover sushi from last night back in the apartment sounded very appetizing.
It wasn't much better three hours later when I began the trek to a shuttle bus to The Standard. Normally a 10-minute walk, it became  more of a 20-minute struggle to stay dry, keep the umbrella from turning inside out and to avoid bumping into fellow foolish pedestrians struggling to navigate blind behind their bumbershoots.
Fortunately, the route to the shuttle stop leads through a mammoth luxury mall that was thinly populated because few businesses had bothered to open. The Ben and Jerry's booth was, though, and a scoop of Chunky Monkey was just the exotic Hong Kong treat I needed for the final sprint. 

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