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Taipei Days Twelve and Thirteen

December 29th, 2010 · No Comments · Grucci

The 28th was the first day up on 101 where the visibility was greater than 10 miles. Wow! It feels like you can see the whole country, and this is only the 66th floor!

I’m on a 6-hour work break right now so I can rest up to return to 101 and work the night shift at 9pm, which will have me up until ~2 in the morning, if I’m lucky 🙂 We have 14 faces to go as of this morning and need to get up 8 faces today, and when I left we were halfway through the 4th. We got 6 faces up yesterday, although it took us until 12am to finish. However today the last face that we did before I left I was told went up in just over an hour, which is a new record – we managed to shave a good 30 minutes off our previous best install time. This doesn’t mean that each face onward will take an hour, unfortunately. For example, last night we had some twisted cable, and spent a huge chunk of time fixing that on props that had already been raised up. Other rigging problems have held us up as well. For us installers, I’m still finding problems on almost every prop I go to mount – fortunately I’ve gotten better at spotting them before we begin to lift, but generally this happens right after we finish the last face, so I’m forced to correct them during the install, along with all the other lift teams. In short, each face is a new face and there’s no guarantee we can always hit that 1 hour best time (so far) install. That would be nice though!

OMG I forgot they made these. Soooo good. I need to ask my Grandma to pick me up a big bag on her next trip to Fort Lee

Today we got hit hard with some really bad news though – it turns out the rigging company has been stringing us along since the beginning. For reasons that were not made clear to me (because I didn’t really feel like asking) they have been telling us for the past few days they can get enough winches for us to do two faces simultaneously, which is something we’ve been trying to do for three days now. Well we finally checked in on them and found that they had been lying about what they said they were capable of, and that’s left us with having to run night shifts to make sure we can lift all the remaining faces in time – one at a time. In good news, I hear the Dajia site is actually ahead of schedule now, and we have all the props done for 101 that now just have to be installed.

As the day wore on things turned hazy again, but it made the mountains look so cool as they rolled off into the distance. Also – sun rays FTMFW

Yesterday I got my lift team back together, I guess Tatsumi had a good time with us the day before because he was back again (and again today – the guy is a trooper!). So PJ, Tatsumi and I ran a few faces until I had to give up Tatsumi to handle a short-staffed position. Then PJ’s friend Harry came along to help on my post. PJ taught me some more Chinese and I some English to him. Interesting fact: the Chinese word for “snow” is pretty close to “shit”. I like that!! 😉 Turns out his birthday is on the 30th so I told him after the show we’d hit the club and I’d buy him a drink since he can’t do that until he’s 21. I kept mentioning the club by making beatbox sounds, hahaha. Half the fun in talking with PJ is figuring out (going both ways) what we’re trying to communicate to each other when having an actual conversation. Work is pretty easy, because I can usually show him what I’m trying to tell him, but just having a chat is more challenging. Sometimes we both just shrug and I call over a translator if I see one nearby not busy.

I tried my best, but unfortunately this picture does not do the sunset justice – taken from the 58th floor

As I said before, yesterday we put up 6 faces, which means we polished off the 66th floor and got two faces done on the 58th floor. We started the day with breakfast at 6:30am (I didn’t roll downstairs until more like 7) and took a bus at 7:15 to 101 and were lifting somewhere around 9am, which was an hour later than we wanted – again issues with the building locking doors on us that we needed open, rigging, etc. We managed to get two faces up before lunch, two before dinner, and then the last two before we left around 11pm, which meant that after packing up we didn’t get back to the hotel until around 12. Another problem was the riggers and Giant Show people automatically took an hour for lunch and dinner, when we wanted to just eat and get back out there. Then it wasn’t like at the end of the hour we were lifting again – we had to wait for everyone to trickle back and setup.

One of the giant red lantern lights perched atop the building corners on the lower floors (the higher ones have white strobes). These glow in and out about every 3 seconds.

Today(which saw me up at 6:45am) our Site Captain was riding hard on the Giant Show and rigger guys to take only a half hour lunch, and we were told when installing to keep pressure on the riggers to hoist the props up and keep things moving along. They must have finally started to get the idea during the 1-hour face install we managed to pull off today. Unfortunately PJ wasn’t around today for some reason – maybe he’ll be on the night crew as well – so I had a new guy Tom (this, by the way is like calling an Andres an Andrew – it’s not his real Chinese name) and by new I mean new to my post. Everyone does their installs a little differently, so I had to correct him on some procedures Tatsumi and I have down but eventually we got into the flow. I found my props going up a bit slower than most of everyone else’s, but that’s mainly because the more experienced technicians can understandably fix prop problems faster than I can. Usually I have to call over one of the Captains to check on my work. If we all had perfect props, we’d all be throwing them on and raising them up in 5 minutes or less like a Nascar pit crew as I mentioned before. However, to continue the analogy, most of the time its like a car pulls into to pit row and you go to gas it up and find there’s no gas feed, or the lug nuts on the tires don’t come off, or you go to fit on a new tire and the alignment is all wrong. Gah!

The weather today was just as beautiful as yesterday and had us working in short sleeves again, even on the windy side. Getting closer to civilization though – this shot is from the 50th floor.

Anyways I left halfway into the second face 50th floor installation, so by the time I get back to 101 we should (should) just be getting down to the 42nd floor, which is the worst floor of all because it’s a window washing floor and there is a metal beam track running along the inside of the terrace floor that the window washing hoist and winch is mounted on. Right next to that is the scaffolding, which means we literally have to stand on this beam or between it and the scaffolding or building wall (which is impossible to do unless you’re turned parallel to the wall) while we work on installing these props. That will certainly make things more interesting.

Holy hell are there really only two days left to Show Day?? I don’t even imagine how we are getting this all finished up – thankfully that is not for me to even worry about! All I know is I will be doing my part to get everything done, whatever that may be. We have more people out here now and things are kicked into the highest gear possible. People’s minds will be blown on New Year’s Eve, that’s all I’m going to say with absolute certainty – because those minds will either be the populace of Taipei or the literal remains of ours!! 🙂

I’ve generally been keeping sane by narrowing my focus to my tasks, gazing out over Taipei during the down times (so relaxing), and enjoying the great weather when it comes around and being thankful I’m not home dealing with this shit. I mean Xuě 🙂

My car under what appears to be a foot or more of snow. Screw that!!

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