I can't sleep because my building is going to fall down

This week in ol’ Shangers it’s been extremely wet and blowy out of doors. The streets are puddled and deserted, no taxi will stop, and if you are over 6ft (like me) most people seem out to stab you in the eye with their umbrella. Everyone is wet and pissed off and looking for someone or something to blame for their sodden summer misery. So far, suspicion and hatred is falling on the large, angry, circular white ball of wind going by the name of Typhoon Morakot.

This appallingly mannered hooligan of a storm has already vandalized large areas of Taiwan and caused misery, havoc and destruction on a massive scale. Morakat means ‘Emerald’ in Thai but it meant death and chaos in Taiwan a few days ago. The southern Chinese coast has taken a good pummeling too and now it seems that old ‘Emerald’ wants a piece of Shanghai. Right now it is only a few miles away, but you’d never have guessed it by the weather. You’d think that the bloody thing was in your face. During the day, even with a brolly, getting from A to B without being drenched is impossible and at night attempting to doze off in my rickety flat on the 16th floor as the building gently sways is just downright terrifying. No wonder I’m edgy.

I can’t work either, my English Corner has been a washout for the last week so I’ve had to resort to doing some substitute Kindergarten teaching just to make a measly few kuai. Even when I was 4 years old I was never much good at ‘head shoulders knees and toes’ and ‘the wheels on the bus’ and after my efforts this week it’s clear that not much has changed. There is something about the combination of singing and movement that I’ve never quite been able master. It doesn’t do much to help when the rain is lashing against the windows.

Singing has never been a strong point of mine either so there’s not much I can really offer the little tykes apart from confusion. This ruddy typhoon owes me at least 4 days pay although of course it owes millions of others far more than that including some people’s lives. Can you believe that there are actually people out there who enjoy chasing these things down?…

This is a video made by one such person of the storm that’s headed our way….

Until recently the closest I’ve been to a typhoon since the late 80’s was probably the movie Twister. Remember? That was the movie where cans of Pepsi saved the day. There is a Brit with a deathwish who chases storms around and he’s just moved to Asia for the storm season. I’ve seen his stuff and this guy got some serious cojones. His name is James Reynolds and he’s the real storm-chasing deal.