When my wife and I went to bed last night, we expected that through the night we'd hear the ever-more-howling winds of the approaching Typhoon Wipha. Perhaps the tall, skinny building in which we live would itself sway, which we'd watch and feel from the 22nd floor?

So far (10:30am China time), things are still pretty tame. At 8:30 this morning, the pavement was still dry. Now the wind is just beginning to push on the trees, and the skies are starting to drizzle, but not much more.

If this were the U.S., where Doppler Radar is everywhere, we'd watch the storm expand, contract, veer around, go out to sea, etc, and have some idea of whether we should be relaxing or hunkering down. As best I know, no such radar exists for most of China -- and if it does, its results aren't instantly and publicly available as they are on countless web sites and weather stations in the U.S.

So we go about our business, and wait, which maybe is a metaphor for the right way to approach life in general, where you have no idea what really lies ahead.

My Shanghai comrade Adam Minter is doing a Live Typhoon Blog. In a few minutes I'm planning to walk across the town, to get an idea of how the big city looks and feels before the typhoon hits (or perhaps doesn't).

Nanjing Xi Lu and Xinchang Lu, downtown Shanghai, 9am:

Eastward across People's Square, 10am:

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