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Thursday, June 21, 2007

Life in Chennai #16: Rain, rain, come again

We’ve been having rain. Actual water falling from the sky (that isn’t coming from a bucket off someone’s balcony). I’m excited.

Now my friends in Vancouver, who are en masse reporting giddiness on their Facebook profiles for their current sunny spell, are surely dumbstruck and sputtering about such a comment. It is raining. And you’re happy about it? Yup.

It isn’t so weird really. We haven’t had much rain yet this calendar year. I certainly have had no complaints that the weather forecast nearly every day has been sunny and lovely, but the rain, beyond just being a nice change of pace, does bring some benefit.

First of all and most importantly, it has knocked the temperature down 10 degrees from a month ago, which is positively wonderful. As I reported, I was getting used to the heat, but the ability of sleeping without a fan and its constant white noise, with a nice cool breeze through the window and rhythmic patter of rain on the trees and roof is a rare luxury. I’ve had to start sleeping with a top sheet again, which is novel.

So after a bit of a dig, I’ve pulled my rain shell from my pack, gone back to closed-toed shoes for the week and enjoyed being wet from the outside for once.

Of course with the rain, comes puddles, giant, street-spanning puddles and traffic is slowed and jostled even more than usual. I didn’t miss that from last year’s monsoon season. With less street space, especially along the pedestrian sides, walking the streets to lunch and elsewhere becomes a fresh new extreme sport again. I didn’t really miss that either although I’m more steely about rubbing shoulders with moving traffic since Nov.

The only real negative is that the mosquitoes are also back with all the lovely new standing water to breed in, but they're still small and slow-moving so are easy to kill so far. I guess I’ll have to go back to using the plug-in repellent.

Mostly we’ve been having the occasional afternoon thunderstorms, but this week a big system moved in and stuck and we’ve actually had rain all day and night, quite rare for here where most parts of South Asia are used to getting their rain in short, drenching buckets. My colleagues all commented on its unusualness. So it’s all about a change of scenery. For Vancouver, it is much deserved sun after a long, wet winter, but for us, a little water from the sky is a nice cool break, as long as it doesn’t last more than a week!

So rain, rain, go away and come again another day. :-)

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