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Report from

Monday 1st April 

To all at home or abroad (ex Taiwan) I'm okay and was not harmed during yesterday's earthquake. For those of you already in Taiwan and despite the dangers of earthquakes realise the relative safety of our being here, then this is old news already - however I do hope that you are all safe and unhurt.

It was early afternoon and Gina and I were having dinner in Grandma Nitti's when the quake struck. For me it seemed like an eternity and although I was calm I was pretty bloody scared as I took the picture frame off the wall above where Gina was sitting, lest it fell on her, but Gina had been counting and the quake lasted around 20 seconds. Of course everyone was scared and those old hands quickly ducked under the tables, but these tables being the central legged variety I didn't see the point and just stood over Gina - should any plaster or brickwork fall. We stayed to finish our meal, and for those of you who know Nitti's it's a place where the coffee cup never has to be empty and you can sit and relax for hours after the all day breakfast. After the quake the place nearly emptied within minutes (Can't see why - what are you going to do? Camp in Da-An park just in case? Apart from a couple of coffee cups which were more probably broken because the sudden movements of terrified customers, swinging lamps (yes, really swinging) and rattling pictures - of which the upstairs of Nitti's has many all was undamaged. Not everywhere in Taipei fared so lucky, however.

Those of you not in Taiwan were probably horrified by the televised pictures of cars crushed by the falling cranes which are being used to construct - wait for it - the next 'Worlds Tallest Building'. Albeit used with modern Japanese anti-quake technology, I have to say that this is perhaps not the most ideal place to build such an edifice. My friends, Manuela and Benito, who happen to live within a few blocks of the building which is still under construction, not only had the horror of being on the eighth floor (we, fortunately, were only on the second), but also witnessed the tumbling of the cranes.

I awoke this morning to learn of the sad news that our Queen Mum has passed away. Of course it was near the end (maybe not, Chiang Kai Shek's widow recently celebrated her 105th birthday here) but I'm wondering how that'll affect the monarchy - the Queen Mum has been the only really popular member since the death of Diana. And, I note that the monarchs sunning themselves in Spain and Skiing in Switzerland on the Easter Weekend - will probably be seen at home less popular exactly because of their geographical positioning at a time when the other royals were - at home and doing what monarchs do - being the examples to the public by spending the Easter weekend at home, going to church, etc... I have paid my respect by flying the flag (not at half mast - because it hangs from a horizontal pole) outside my apartment.

Next weekend sees the start of the four day music festival down in Kending aptly named 'Spring Scream' and it co-incides with the Taiwan holiday of Tomb Sweeping Day, on Thursday. Rather than going out and finding some tombs to sweep (hmm. Lara Croft - tomb sweeper!) I'll be on a bus on Thursday and down to join the festivities - with a business enterprise idea - more about that next time.

Ihope that this finds everyone well and hearty despite world news and hope to hear from you in the near future. Stay safe!


Home | Click here for previous Taiwan drivels.