Day 8 – Chargers, Batteries and Earthquakes

Too early, way too early I open my eyes, it is 5.24 am. I already can see that the daylight is getting stronger and stronger marking the end of the night. Currently, the sunrises in Taipei, here in Taiwan, around 6 am. Sunset is around 5.30 pm, so we can enjoy about 12 hours of day light. Thinking again about that, every time when I am in Taiwan, I feel it would be better for me to shift the local time 2 hours back. So the sun would rise about 8 am and sets at 7.30 pm, in this way, we could enjoy more daylight, more sun every day! I immediately realize, that this is brain fart, my Western look on the things around me. Don’t try to change a system, try to understand and blend in.

It is still so early, I feel bored, and see the phone again on my nightstand. Pick it up, and browse again through the red dotted apps, knowing I shouldn’t do that. I watch two episodes from two different video content creators here in Taiwan. It makes me really want to follow their journey, their path! Make a round trip on the island on a scooter, motorcycle or a Tesla. All is possible here. I feel a little better now, and try to catch some more sleep.

Like clockwork, I wake up at 7.30am. Like a zombie I open the door and pick up the breakfast. This time, the breakfast is from a shop that I have not seen before during my stay here. It is a club sandwich, but not like the one I ditched the day before. This one looks actually pretty decent, pretty good! Little excited, I try to open the transparent hard plastic box, and it looks like the box is fighting against me. She doesn’t want to be opened. Ah, I see why, they stapled her! With a little more force, I finally win the battle and satisfyingly I bring the treasure to my mouth and take a first bite. Yes! Not bad at all. Actually, I really like it!

After finishing the whole sandwich, I look around me, and know I have to continue to my next scheduled item: my sports exercises. I feel so empty, such a lack of energy, why o why? I did sleep pretty well, I had a great day yesterday, but still feel so powerless. I feel my battery is really depleted. Talking about batteries, it reminds me of the Taiwanese company Gogoro. They started in 2011, with the development and production of so-called ‘Smart Scooters’. These scooters are the electric alternative to the gasoline fueled scooters. I think they are branding themselves as the Tesla for scooters. A very clear focus. Taiwan has the highest amount of scooters per capita world wide. There are various reports on it this matter and I remember that on the population of about 23 million people here in Taiwan, there are about 13 million scooters! A mind boggling number. So you can imagine, that the exhaust of all those scooters combined has a significant impact on the quality of the air in the cities. From that point of view, changing all gasoline fueled scooters in the Taipei urban environment with over 8 million people to its electrical alternative makes perfect sense! The Gogoro revolution really started around 2015, in which I could see the special battery charging units throughout the city. If you drive a Tesla, and want to charge you car, you can’t just exchange you battery and continue your trip. No, you need to plug it to charge, you can’t exchange the battery for a full unit. With Gogoro system, you can! Just drive to a battery station, remove one or two batteries and you are ready to go. You might think that those electrical scooters look very boring, and are very slow. To me, they look fancy, modern, and blend in perfectly in the 2020 society. They accelerate fast, from 0 to 50 km/hr within 4 seconds, maximum speed over 90 km/h and have a range of about 100 km. In Shenzhen, China, just over the boarder in Hong Kong, gasoline fueled motorcycles are banned, but they don’t have this fancy type of scooter. Not yet! From that point of view, Taiwan is doing a better job, on the other hand, Shenzhen has already introduced the law to ban the other type. I think, it is just a matter of time, and the majority of the scooters will be electrical powered here in Taiwan.

But where does the electrical power come from, to feed these scooters. Amongst others, from one of world’s biggest thermal power station. Located in Taichung, on the west coast in Taiwan. That station is fueled by coal, and has a maximum capacity of more than 5,000 MW. I am not sure about the efficiency, and the pollution that this big boy is creating. So the power is generated there, than transported to the charging stations and eventually they are used to move people with the scooters. Every step has its own efficiency. I am not sure about the current efficiency of the gasoline fueled scooters, and truly hope that the electrical scooters have an environment advantage. Nevertheless, the Gogoro scooters are quiet, really quiet! And indeed, they locally don’t cause pollution in the city. So probably, those two reasons are already enough to push this electrical scooter revolution.

Let’s go back to my battery, my battery is still depleted, and I wish we had the opportunity to charge it like a Tesla, or even better, like the Gogoro system: depleted battery out, new fully charged one back! I focus, I try to focus on myself. I slept well, so I must have enough energy, it is just a feeling of lacking energy. Like my needle of my energy sensor is broken. Reluctantly, I start my sports exercises, I decided to do the 50% power program and afterwards I took a refreshing shower, washing away my sweat! Yes, yes, I feel better! How on earth is that possible, I consume a lot of energy, and feel like energized. I think back on the serotonin story from yesterday. Yes, maybe the key to solve this puzzle is in the theory from yesterday. If you feel empty in your mind, but still have energy in your body, try to find things to do, that might consume energy, but at the same time will generate more energy than being consumed. We should charge ourselves, whether in quarantine, on a holiday or working in the office at the other side om my street. We need to find things to do in our lives to generate energy, otherwise it is a up-hill battle that we can’t win. It is physics, a depleted battery does not deliver energy anymore, it needs to be charged. A good sleep is a way to charge partially your battery, but I am convinced, that during the day, you need to have enough energy generating activities to sustain a good energy balance.

With my battery charged, I start working, and feel more and more energy flowing in my body. I have list of things I can do, to charge myself. I wish everyone has such a list, so even when you feel depleted, you have your own smart list, your own hidden power bank to charge yourself.

It is about 10 pm and set again my alarm at the usual time, 7.30am. I put my phone on my working desk and not next to me on the bedside table, so I have to get out of my bed to pick it up and use it. I am that weak that I have to do that? I am not sure at the moment, but I feel it is the better option. I close my eyes and think about today, about the highlights and lowlights. Funny enough, I again realize, although I was busy the whole day, I feel more energy now than this morning when I woke up. Body’s and mind’s energy balance is such an interesting phenomenon. Satisfied, I fall asleep.

After a while, I wake up, look to my smart watch. It is 11.39 pm, I feel a little dizzy, like you wake up middle in the night knowing that you had a little too much alcohol that evening. I remember, I had a dream, try to remember it, but the dizzy feeling does not go away. I change my sleep position and change from my backside to my left side with my left hand under my head. I feel and hear my heart pounding, something is wrong, it feels that the beating of my heart make my mattress shaking a little bit. Like a mother swinging with great care her child’s cradle. Am I dreaming? Is this real? Why does it feel that my bed is moving? I hold my breath for a moment. Could it be an earthquake? Could it? If that would be the case, am I allowed to leave my room? Is an earthquake situation an exception to the contract that I signed? No, I did not read anything about emergency situations. I am on the 10th floor, should I go outside? Find a way to go upstairs, go to the roof, and wait over there? Or would it be more safe to go down to the first floor? Or better to stay here? My head is racing like a hummingbird’s wings! I get out of bed, try to think clearly, is it an earthquake yes or no? I switch on the lights, but doesn’t see any paintings on the wall or other items that could reveal the current status. Am I still sane? I walk to my desk, sit down on my chair, check my phone, and search for ‘Earthquake Taiwan’. Don’t see anything, only a message from the Central Weather Bureau: Extremely Heavy Rains in Yilan. I try to picture how ‘Extremely Heavy Rains’ in that area look like, pretty daunting. I feel awake now, I am awake. Nevertheless, I go back to bed, and convince myself I didn’t feel too well, it might be a side effect of being locked up too long, being confined in such a small place.

At around 4 am I wake up again, and try to go back about 5 hours ago in my mind, while I grab the phone from my desk and look again for ‘Earthquake Taiwan’. I am shocked, yes, I was right, there was an earthquake, with a magnitude of 4.9 on Richter scale. Go again back to bed. I am not sure if I should happy, because I was right, I am still sane, I felt it! Or whether, I should be more cautious, more prepared for a potential bigger one. I try to comfort myself with the first feeling and quickly fall back to sleep.

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