Apr 19

Typhoon Raccoon

Category: China

The first typhoon of the season struck Hainan Island in the South China Sea on April 18th. This is a little early for typhoon season and it happened to coincide with Daryl’s visit from the US. Our team planned a hike up Nanshan mountain on Saturday morning, the day after the typhoon hit the island. However, in the end, it was only three of us: Marshall, Daryl, and me. With our umbrellas in hand (Daryl bought one at 7-11 at the bottom of the mountain), we began the march up road leading to the “trail”, which is really a concrete sidewalk and stairs that runs the ridge for a couple of miles. Down low, it was just a gentle rainstorm, but we could see the trees bending and lurching in the wind high above us. Looked fun.

We set a quick pace up the stairs and within a minute, I knew that I’d be sore the next day. The guys were consistently ahead of me, but Marshall had to stop and rest a few times and my steady plodding saw me on the ridge first. Along the way, we passed other hikers enjoying the brisk walk. Some were with umbrellas, some with jackets. Some wore with business casual with no umbrellas and were completely. There was more than one young girl in short skirts with one hand firmly grasping the umbrella and the other trying desperately to manage the skirt. I’m not sure what they did up on the ridge. Though it was wooded, it was much windier than the ascent, especially at the cols.

(l-r) The stairs, A little boy pretending to be blown away

On the ridge, just below the highest point, we past a small army of workers who were ferrying small uprooted trees down the mountain. They had no worries of the wind and rain and laughed and caterwauled as they passed us. The more we greeted them, the louder they yelled. The wind was strong enough too that the umbrellas were unmanageable, so we closed them and let the wind dry us.

(above) Down in the drippy green and pink canopy.

There’s really not much else to tell. It was windy, it was rainy, it was great. At the bottom, we hitched a bus to the Chairman Mao restaurant where we met up with the not-so-brave members of our team (one of which had called Marshall up and was worried that we’d not have a fun time up there with the unpleasant weather…guess I haven’t shared enough climbing pictures in the North Cascades yet).

Daryl and I returned again on Wednesday for a “Dawn Patrol” in the style of Michael Stanton. The weather was surprisingly rainy again and we delayed our start by 25 minutes. When it showed signs of letting up, we hopped a taxi for Nanshan. We blitzed up and down the full circute of the mountain in less than one hour.

China was planning to hold the country’s first Ironman triathlon Sunday, April 20th, in Haikou, Hainan. Despite the leftover effects of the storm, the race was indeed held.

By the way, one day I suddenly realized that the word “typhoon” closely resembeled “tai4 feng1″ in Chinese, meaning “Great (or too much) Wind”. Thinking I was brilliant, I looked it up on dictionary.com only to discover that there is also mysteriously a Greek word, “tuphon”, meaning “Violent Wind”. So, the English word “typhoon” derives from which one? How are they so similar? Just coincidence? I’m confused now.

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