“The sky, it seems, would pour down stinking pitch,
But that the sea, mounting to the welkin’s cheek,
Dashes the fire out.”
–Miranda, from The Tempest, Act I scene ii
I’ve just survived another typhoon, this time in Tokyo. Phanfone passed over Japan last night and into this morning–it was a strong storm and the rain pounded outside my small apartment. Fortunately, I don’t live in a flood-prone area; the nearby stream has high banks. I saw it change from a mere trickle to a fast-moving river yesterday as I headed to the grocery store in the downpour.
The drainage in Tokyo is much better than in other places in which I’ve lived through typhoons and hurricanes. The last I experienced was Hurricane Sandy in Jersey City–that more-powerful-than-expected storm that caused chaos in the New York City area. The low-lying areas of the city have poor drainage, which makes flooding worse, and there’s been little done to improve the situation since that hurricane. When I lived in Shenzhen, we had a few typhoons that flooded the streets, sometimes making roads impassable despite bus drivers’ best efforts to turn the buses into boats.
I’ve attempted to avoid visiting certain countries during monsoon and typhoon seasons; unlike Japan, some places I desire to visit are not well equipped to handle natural disasters, even the less catastrophic kinds. As much as I’d enjoy visiting some of the more remote islands of the Philippines, I’d prefer to go there after November when there is less threat of a typhoon–the same goes for much of Southeast Asia.
Even when natural disasters aren’t life threatening, it’s not much fun to be caught in the middle of them while traveling. There is still a need to be prepared in case of emergencies. It also helps to have alternative activities for those times when you can’t head out because of the weather. Typhoon Phanfone gave me an opportunity to watch Netflix and write. Speaking of writing, I have finished what I hope to be the first of many Booze, Food, Travel e-guidebooks, which is now available on Amazon.
Have you been caught in a natural disaster while traveling? How do you prepare in case of such emergencies?