Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Thanks for the heads up!

This morning I was woken up by a very loud, shrill ringing that sounded like an alarm clock. My preference is to be gently woken by the soft tinkling of a musical alarm on B's phone, so my early morning irritability factor immediately shot through the roof. I tried going back to sleep, despite my ruffled feathers, and was startled again two minutes later by the same ringing!

B was unperturbed by the whole thing, and after checking his phone to see our alarm wasn't meant to go off for another 5 minutes, decided to roll back over as he mumbled "It's probably just someone trapped in the elevator..." I ran to the living room, looked out the peep hole into the hallway, and saw that the emergency fire light was engaged. After a few more of these "alarms", Boje and I got dressed, checked the the elevator was working (and that no people were trapped or dying inside), grabbed our wallets, and went downstairs hoping that the English-speaking girl was at the desk. She wasn't, but we were greeted with a smile and told "Emergency test. It is safe!"

Over two hours later, the fire alarm is still ringing and it's driving us pretty crazy. We suspect that this is an example of some reactionary legislation made by the Taiwanese government. What probably happened is that once upon a time, an apartment building caught fire and the alarm cut out after twenty minutes, so now it is law that an alarm must be able to run for three consecutive hours. Or it's just a case of our building manager being the Safety Fuhrer. If anyone knows where this is really coming from, please feel free to fill me in!

This whole situation is by no means a worst case scenario, but just highlights one of the challenges of being an English speaker in Taiwan. There were probably signs posted about this in the lobby and elevators all week... it's just too bad I can't read Mandarin.

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