Earth Shaking In Taiwan, Don’t Panic!

A rubber gate in front of our school during the Christmas Concert. Taken in Hsinchu Taiwan with a Nikon D200 and a Nikkor 18-35mm lens on the 22nd of December 2006. Part of the Christmas Concert Series.

I was listening to a few songs that I hadn’t heard in a while, Kent (Isola) in the original Swedish and The Cardigans (Super Extra Gravity), when I noticed that the couch was shaking a bit. I was thinking to myself that the subwoofer wasn’t that loud, it couldn’t be that which was shaking the walls. I then noticed that my 22″ LCD Viewsonic widescreen computer monitor was shaking also. I put my hand on the table and it was shaking too. I couldn’t figure it out for a few seconds. I thought that maybe a truck was causing the vibrations or the neighbors.

Then it hit me.

It was an earthquake.

Don’t panic, says the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy! Where was my towel?

Actually, I have been in a few earthquakes before and nothing really happened. It shook a bit and that was it.

Same thing here in Hsinchu, nothing fancy going on.

The wife had similar thoughts. She thought she had hit something and it was causing some of the shaking. It is strange how our brains try to find logical solutions.

I try to think of Sherlock Holmes in these moments.

Once you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbably as it might seem, is the solution.

It actually took until the following morning for us to check it on the news, it was on CNN Asia.

Here is what some of the news services have to say about the event. It came almost 2 years after the tsunami that killed over 200000 people in Southern Asia in 2004.

From CBS News:

The 6.7-magnitude quake — which triggered a tsunami alert — damaged two of the seven undersea cables near Taiwan used by several countries to route calls and Internet traffic, Chunghwa said. Crews fixing the cables would have to pull them up and transfer them to a ship for repair, the company said.

From The Sydney Morning Herald:

A STRONG earthquake off Taiwan killed two people and damaged undersea cables, cutting off phone and internet service yesterday to parts of China, South Korea, Japan, South-East Asia and the United States.

And this from USA Today.

Undeersea communication cables were cut and internet service was slow in most of Asia, as well as heavy phone disruptions.

From my point of view, nothing really changed.

* * * * *

Same deal, different view. 2006. Part of the Christmas Concert Series.

It was an almost hella-day from me, not as bad as last Friday.

I had to finish my lesson plans for the Kindergarten, create and upload my weekly content for my two grade 4 classes for next week, mark 40 tests and compile the results in my Excel sheet, compose and create the end of semester scopes for my two grade 4 classes (telling the parents what I would be covering in my exams). I got everything done, but it took almost all day. I barely had the time to write a post early in the morning when it all started. Creating a scope was actually quite easy, since I just cut and pasted things from my weekly lesson plans. It actually also forces me to plan out the rest of the semester, sizing up where we are in class and deciding which stories I will cover in the next few weeks.

One of things I really enjoy about teaching is that once you finish something, it is done. You no longer have to touch it anymore. Now, all that is left for the end of next week, is to create the final exams for my two grade 4 classes. I have a total of 7 exams to create, 4 in one class and 3 in another. Grammar, Reading, Listening Comprehension and Writing. For one class, I do not do the Writing. Since I had spent quite a bit of time on my midterm exams a few months ago, I know the drill and it will be a lot faster this time.

I replaced a teacher in the afterschool program for an hour and my tutoring was moved to Friday.

Other than that, we are getting ready to celebrate new year’s in Taipei on Saturday. I do not know why we are celebrating New Year’s on Saturday, but hey, I just go with the flow.

* * * * *

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Author: range

I'm mathematician/IT strategist/blogger from Canada living in Taipei.

6 thoughts on “Earth Shaking In Taiwan, Don’t Panic!”

  1. Thanks Jessica!
    We are both dandy, no disruption in phones, cellphones or the internet for us in Hsinchu Taiwan.

    Some of the news reports I have seen on CNN paint a dire picture of what happened. To tell the truth, I barely noticed the earthquake. Didn’t affect us at all.

  2. Hey there,
    I just flew into Hsinchu and will be living here for 9 months. I need help with some basic things like finding an apartment and transportation. I’ll be staying at the Lakeshore hotel for the first two weeks. Any help would be more than welcome. Write me at

  3. Hi Suresh, welcome to Hsinchu. For that amount of time, you could check if there are any available condos for rent at the Lakeshore Master, right next to the Lakeshore hotel. They are small but modern and come fully furnished with beds, tvs etc. Some of the staff do speak English, try talking to Yvette.

    For transportation, you might consider getting a scooter. Just stop at any big scooter shop and point at old scooters. Some shops only sell new ones, like the ones right down Minghu Rd., in the corner. Others down on Nanda Rd. sell used scooters. We had someone who knew about scooters check ours out before buying. Maybe take a colleague from work. You can always look on to find scooters for sale from foreigners, but in most cases you will have to travel, but it’s worth checking out. Most of the time, the make won’t really matter since you will be getting a 10 year old scooter. Ours is a Sym and we paid 15000 NTD for it. Gassing up every week and a half costs 100 NTD. It’s a very cheap way to get around.

    Fruits are available at all the fruit stalls throughout the city.

    For groceries, I recommend the RT Mart down on Shippin Rd, past Guangfu Rd Sec 2. It has everything you need, it’s like a Walmart. You can get your meat, fish and any things you might need to live, for example pans, pots, dishes, cheap warm clothes and gloves.

  4. Hey Range,
    Thanks for that really helpful response. I checked with Lakeshore Master and it looks like they only have condos without kitchens or living rooms. I am looking for a furnished 2 bedroom apartment for under 25000NTD a month for rent up until Oct 1st 07. Any suggestions? Thanks for the directions on shops around Hsinchu, RT mart was an interesting experience. I’m also checking into buying a scooter for around 15000NTD and am sort of confused regarding the licensing procedure here. Unfortunately, my trip here was a hasty one and I didnt manage to grab an international drivers license. I just realized how hard being vegetarian here is going to be!

  5. Hey Suresh. Sorry about the Lakeshore Master. Finding a place by yourself can be hard. I would ask some help from your employer or colleagues who speak Mandarin. We found the Lakeshore with the help of the agents who placed us at the school. We have a small studio condo at the Lakeshore, it is quite small, but very clean, safe and modern. There is a one plate cooking range. It is enough for most our needs. The apartments come fully furnished. Did you visit them?

    Maybe your employer can put you in contact with an agency who will do the apartment hunting for you. Hunting without speaking Mandarin will be quite difficult. I suggest you ask someone from work for help. We did that and also used our agents and we found a place the 1st day of our arrival. Granted it is very small, but it suits our needs for now. It is quite a different size though, when you are used to a 1200 sqf condo in downtown Montreal, Canada.

    For the scooter, don’t worry about licenses. As soon as you have an ARC, you can legally own a scooter. I do not have a scooter license or motorcycle license, but do have a Canadian driver’s license. From my research, when you obtain an ARC, you need to get a driver’s license from Taiwan, but most foreigners don’t bother. There is some debate on whether you have to wait a year before getting one or you can get one right away. I wouldn’t really worry and I wouldn’t bother. If you get stopped by the police, just tell them you are visiting the country. All of the foreigners I know never had any problems.

    Vegetarian? That will be hard, because veggies seem to be a problem here. Your best bet is to try the Orange Mart underneath FE21 and Movieshow on Xida Rd. It is impossible to miss, because you will see a Mega illuminated sign with FE21 written upon it. The Orange Mart is in the basement. We just buy our veggies from the RT Mart.

    There is an Indian restaurant located right in the back of Bank Of Taiwan building on Linsen Rd. It is called The Spice Shop, it is hard to miss, since their sign is a giant Indian flag!

    The food is ok, not the best Indian food, but a relief from some of the more bland food you will find here. I have found some spices, but I am still missing coriander/cilantro, cumin, paprika and other spices that I use to cook.

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