Sunday, 9 December 2012

Rainy Day in Taipei

Taiwan sits in the northwestern Pacific Ocean tropical cyclone basin. Since we've been here there have been a few official typhoons (as in, the schools and offices were closed) but nothing to match my expectations. My understanding of what constituted a typhoon was informed by Joseph Conrad's story of the same name; something like this:

The gale howled and scuffled about gigantically in the darkness, as though the entire world were one black gully. At certain moments the air streamed against the ship as if sucked through a tunnel with a concentrated solid force of impact that seemed to lift her clean out of the water and keep her up for an instant with only a quiver running through her from end to end. And then she would begin her tumbling again as if dropped back into a boiling cauldron. 

Admittedly, that does take some living up to and I probably wouldn't like it very much if the weather ever really did anything similar, but I have to confess to feeling a little anti-climactic about our experiences so far. When friends in the UK ask about extreme weather here I say, 'you know those strong, icy winds you get in winter, where you're leaning into it and feel like you're going to be blown off your feet? Well, I've never known it get that bad in Taipei.'

But rain.....rain is another story. Rain is something I'd underestimated about Taiwan. I thought that, living most of my life in England, I knew rain. But I did not know rain till I came here. 

It's a little hard to find statistics as Taiwan is (undeservedly) not recognised everywhere as a country in its own right, but this site gives information for Taipei in particular. It states that the capital receives an average of 2100 mm of rainfall a year. According to Nationmaster, this places it 11th in the world. 

This isn't a complaint, however. If it were not for rain it would be impossible to be surrounded by lush, green mountains. Rain provides relief from heat and dust, and lends a soft, dreamy quality to the atmosphere. And rainy days are all the nicer for having an excuse to stay home in cosy comfort and indulge yourself.

So when the view from our apartment looks like this:

it's time to break out the board games and have a relaxing Sunday afternoon indulging in poor dietary choices.

We brought some Green and Black's organic cocoa powder with us for just such an occasion.

Scrummy buttery baked potatoes.

No car means always being able to have a glass of wine when you feel like it. And the chocolate...well, I can't think of anything to justify that. Oh, I know - it's raining outside!

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