Typhoon season came in with a bang last night. The weather service had predicted the typhoon to hit north of Manila, so no one was really prepared here for anything more than a few heavy showers. While it was no Ondoy in terms of the scale and scope of the damage, poor Nick and I experienced significantly more damage than anything we’d faced last year.
Here’s how the evening played out. I woke up around 2 AM to find our building swaying slightly in the wind (like California, the structures are designed to flex back and forth to protect against typhoons and earthquakes). Let’s just say that it feels really creepy when you’re in it. Our aircon had shut off, so I knew the power must have gone out and we were using a generator (we are very lucky to have one in our building, by the way).
I walked over to the window to look at what was going on (the wind was howling and rain was pelting our windows 39 floors up). All of a sudden I was standing in water. Uh-oh. I immediately woke Nick and we surveyed the damage. It turned out that water was seeping up through the floor boards and pooling in both our master and guest bedrooms. It was the most bizarre thing ever. The window wasn’t even leaking, just this mysterious stream coming out of the floor.
What did we do? We mopped! And mopped and mopped and mopped. Until the fire alarm started ringing. And then we panicked. Now, it is common knowledge in the building that the alarm often goes off when there is no fire. However, Nick and I are both of the mindset of “Better safe than sorry”. So we dropped the mop and kicked into high gear – we got dressed, Nick grabbed the escape bag (I told you it’s handy), and we bolted for the stairs.
So down we went, all 39 floors. Surprisingly, no one else was joining us. We arrive panting in the lobby to find calm, cool and collected guards who inform us that there is no fire in the building. You can imagine our frustration at hearing this, especially when they couldn’t explain why the alarm was going off.
But here’s where it gets really fun. We walk back to the elevators only to discover that they are not working and there’s no ETA as to when they’ll be back up. Crapistan. Looks like we are spending some time in the lobby. As minutes turned into hours I cozied into the plush micro-fiber cushions. I would estimate we were there from 2-6 AM. Here’s a little visual to bring the story to life:
Now, Nick got frustrated around 6 and made the trek up 39 floors. I decided I was waiting it out until the elevator was back up – I was settling in nicely to my make-shift bed. About 20 minutes after Nick made the climb, I was back up there too via the elevator.
Time to survey the damage. Our bedrooms smelled like wet dog, but were not leaking nearly as bad now. In addition, we now had water coming out of the ceiling in the guest bedroom. I spent the day airing things out, catching up on sleep and contacting the Embassy to come out and look at it.
Some stats for Typhoon Conson:
- 90% of the city was without power for the majority of today
- 20 known dead thus far
- winds were up to 120 kph
- 1st typhoon of the season done, 20 or so to go
And that’s it folks. There is no inspiring moral to this story. Typhoons suck! I’d take a blizzard any day… :)