Monday, 20 September 2010

Typhoon Fanapi

It looked like a bomb had gone off when I got to the local park around 9 this morning (though I have seen far worse before). Below is a (rather poorly focused) picture of my work to help clean the place up following Typhoon Fanapi; five piles of assorted tree debris from the middle left of the picture to the right, with leafy branch piles at either end and coconut bark piles in between. That should go some way to helping the city park administration to get on with cleaning up my local park a bit quicker.

These pictures were taken just after lunch as I didn't have the camera with me this morning; if I had, I might have gotten a (probably poor) shot of my dog murdering a baby (hairless) squirrel which had apparently been blown out of its cub-hole in the trees by Fanapi. Unfortunately, it was probably far too late for the squirrel by the time I noticed and I wouldn't have been able to save it anyway. A few weeks back, my little black monster nearly had a juvenile squirrel in a spot nearby. She had been sniffing around a collection of black refuse bags (almost certainly containing household waste*) that had been dumped nearby the climbing frame where I do my pull ups. After scolding her and walking off in the expectation she'd follow me, I heard a noise and turned around to see a juvenile squirrel trying to hop its way across the pavement to the safety of the nearest tree. My dog, however, was quicker - she picked the poor thing up in her jaws and flung it closer to the twelve inch ditch between pavement and park grass (and which you can see to the left of the picture above). The squirrel jumped down into the ditch and stayed there - clearly exhausted. I checked the dog and lifted the little squirrel out of the ditch (as gentle as I was, it kept biting my fingers) and delivered it into a low hanging tree branch on the other side of the park close to where I usually feed the adult squirrels my apple cores. Never saw it again.

Anyway, minor nature stories aside, it seems that although there was quite a bit of rain yesterday and some today, Tainan on the whole seems to have gotten off lightly compared to Kaohisung and Pingtung. Apparently there has been some flooding in the areas of Kaohsiung county where I used to live, but I imagine certain of my former neighbours would be fairly secure.

At where I live now in Tainan, the recently constructed wastewater channel behind my apartment building has very useful and yet so far little-used parallel byways from which I was able to get a few shots of the excess water charging through it. I don't have any dry shots for comparison, but take it from me - that water is about two or three feet deep and moving pretty fast. This is precisely the sort of grey-water that ought to be collected and recycled through modern, nano-scale filtration systems.

*This is a daily nuisance for me. The people who live in the houses adjacent to the park can only dispose of household garbage when the city refuse truck trundles along at its appointed hour (I don't know for certain but I think it's just once a day - between 3pm and 5pm - when many people are still at work). Unlike me, they do not have either recycling facilities nearby or a skip into which they can throw their black plastic refuse bags whenever it is convenient for them to do so. Their solution? Dump their garbage in the park across the street and leave it there for the park administration to pick up. My immediate problem with this is that I don't want my dog sniffing at garbage bags full of rotten chicken bones and other crap - and I'm not the only one; there are between ten and twenty dog-owners at this park on any given afternoon between 4pm and 6pm. Whenever I catch them doing it I always tell them off in Mandarin, but it doesn't seem to have any effect except temporarily scaring them. There must be a better way of dealing with this problem...

Update: actually, it seems that - as with Morakot last year - the damage is a lot worse in some areas than I otherwise guessed. I am going to drive down to Kaohsiung with my camera and have a look...

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