Dispatch from Taiwan: Sun Moon Lake does the Harlem shake


Wednesday morning, my dad and I are driving along a mountain road overlooking Sun Moon Lake when my uncle’s sedan undertakes a maneuver I heretofore have assumed only possible by Usher’s ankles. For about a second, it feels as if the left rear tire is veering toward the left while the rest of the car is moving toward the right. Confused, we look behind us, expecting to see a ditch, the corpse of whatever we ran over, or the left rear tire popped off its axle and rolling idly away. I see a slight bump in the road and assume that was it and wonder whether years of aggressive Taiwanese driving have finally taken its toll on the vehicle’s suspension system.

When we arrive at our destination five minutes later, we learn that rides on the cable cars we’re planning to take for an aerial view of Sun Moon Lake and its surrounding mountains have just been suspended for the day for safety reasons. As it turns out, an earthquake struck just moments ago, the epicenter some 20 kilometers, or 12 miles, to the East. The tremors felt at the cable car station had lasted for around twenty seconds. I see a guy in a uniform on his walkie talkie, reporting that no one was hurt in the surrounding roadways, and that aside from some downed trees and loose debris, everything was fine.
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My immediate reaction to being caught in a natural disaster (see Sandy) is disappointment that things weren’t more exciting. My first earthquake in Taiwan–a 6.1–and that’s it? Talk about premature stabilization. Of course, I should be grateful that things weren’t much, much worse, as they could’ve been.

To those who checked in, thanks; kiss my fist, I’m more than good. In terms of actual, legitimate threats to my wellbeing, we spent the rest of the day doing touristy things around Sun Moon Lake, and I didn’t have any sunscreen. My dad references this in the haiku-like first line of email to my mom and siblings back home, a metaphorical burn on top of my physical one. The rest of the email, which I think is hilarious, is below:

Johnny’s skin is a kind of thin. Mine is thicker. Should be fine.

Thanks to Lord, though. Did not know we are in the center of the News until home:

We biked 1/3 of the surrounding of the Sun-Moon Lake. Ate the most famous “Tea Egg” by the lake.
Johnny went to visit a pagoda 250 Meters high above the sea level of the Sun-Moon Lake at 5 PM, while 99% of the visitors were gone from the lake.
Ate dinner at the Puli night market around 7:30 PM. Then drove 3 hours home till 11 PM.

Then were told how TV showed the visitors rushed out to safety from the tour boats at the piers when EQ. Is was when Johnny and I were complaining something wrong with Ho Cheng’s car suspensions, while we were driving by the lake. For now, we are glad that we don’t need to fix Ho Cheng’s car. His car is fine.

P.S. The rain did not come on the lake as forecast in the afternoon. We were only wet by the sweating.

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