Here I am in a city that famously never stops,you can usually wander the streets of Central at 2am but you will not be alone. Yet I woke today to look out at empty pavements and only the occasional vehicle braving the tarmac of the motorways. A much anticipated Signal 8 has been raised by the Hong Kong Observatory, closing schools and offices and emptying the streets.
The advice on official websites gives sobering warnings about locking and taping your windows, keeping away from the windward side of your home, along with what you would consider unnecessary statements about not engaging in watersports. In my head the thought flashes through that If someone is engaging in those, they must be a prime candidate for the Darwin Awards.
Sitting looking out from the 27th floor I can hear the wind building as typhoon Haima moves closer to Hong Kong, only light rain so far and cozily ensconced with a coffee and my laptop, the wind may be voicing its presence but it does not even tremble the glass as yet, I feel like a distant observer.
My view encompasses empty basketball courts normally busy in all weather until 10:30 at night, swimming pools with wind whipped waters abandoned by the swimmers and lifeguards and trees beginning to bend in the strengthening storm. Here and there I see people doing their duty as dog owners bending into the wind and fighting umbrellas, leads and doggie mess bags as their faithful companions having forgotten their excitement for walkies now question the foolish expedition in the wind and the rain when they would rather be curled up at home.
So here I sit in my isolated eyrie surveying the streets with an anticipation of the impending typhoon and contemplating the foolish idea of heading outside. All the while I know that school kids are sitting at home probably being forced to study by unhappy parents with yesterday’s excited anticipation of a day off school evaporating as the realities of Hong Kong’s equivalent of a Snow Day set in.