Cooler weather indeed

An email I sent to my family this morning:

It’s very cold the past couple days… I think it is actually below 80, adding on a gusty wind(chill) of 10degrees off. So don’t forget to pack your mittens and parkas when you come to Thailand in Dec.

My father replied with a flash of rare wit:

It’s very cold the past couple days… I think it is actually below 40, adding on a gusty wind(chill) of 10degrees off. So don’t forget to pack your mittens and parkas when you come home for Thanksgiving.

It is almost as if Koy Lathrong marked the end of humidity. The next day, the temperature dropped at least 15° Fahrenheit, compounded with strong gusty winds, cloudy skies, and a half the usual humidity due point. It didn’t mark the end of the rainy season as it rained last night, although not thundering style as is the norm. I reveled in shivering and opting to walk the entire way home.

Ohh, I hope it will a be a long dry cold season!

Ondoy’s wet welcome

I was stuck in Manila when the first of a recent series of major typhoons blew through. We know Storm Ondoy (pronounced “on-Do-Oi”), internationally known as Ketsana, was approaching but reporting had treated it like a heavy rain storm that will blow through without event. In reality, yes, it was just that. A long heavy shower. No one just realised how heavy it would be.

We attempted to go sightseeing even in the weather. Oh, we saw, heard the rain. But we figured if we did some museum hopping I would get my Philippine culture intake.

What a trip. The taxi driver, perhaps annoyed that we wouldn’t play ball on the fare negotiation process, tried to drop us off in some obscure building near the hotel, insisting that it was the only museum in the city. Right. National Museum, which we requested? Manila Casa? San Augustin? Villa Escudero? Malacanang Palace? Nonetheless, we got kicked out in the middle of a flood.

We waded our way back. On a dry day, that walk may take us five minutes. Ten max with all the road crossings. That day? Over 45 minutes. First, fascinated, I took my time juggling my umbrella, backpack, and camera to take photos of sights and scenes. Then the rain weighed me down since my sweatshirt apparently collects water very well. Finally, we kept backtracking and zigzagging to avoid going anything more than knee-deep in the water.

The following morning, the local front page compared Ondoy to Hurricane Katrina. I was indignant. The winds in Ketsana, while strong, didn’t compare the Katrina’s 100mph+. In retrospect though, having seen the construction in some of the villages and outskirts, and having experienced the rain volume myself, I can understand that it needed to be brought up that the devastation is phenomenal and, given the poor infrastructure and questionable building standards, the damage is far greater than what an American city and county would have taken under the same circumstances.

Many more photos to come. In the meantime, for a bit more lighthearted view of our day:

Now just what was he trying to accomplish?

Thunder alarm

The rains have increased in both frequency and intensity lately. The one overnight last night was probably the worst so far… it was enough to jolt me awake and make me feel like I was back on the shores of a Wisconsin lake, on the camping trip where we lost all but one of our canoes. Albeit without the tent tipping over and getting completely drenched.

If it was able to wake me up when the police couldn’t, that’s saying something.

The worst was the humidity that followed. People like to say the rain “washes away the heat.” Not necessarily. Depending on the time of the day, the storms make the ensuing humidity more oppressive. Especially if the sun is coming out strong after. When the morning commute had tons of Thai locals carrying hand towels to wipe their sweat as they wait for the Skytrain… *cringe*

Rainy Season

Oh, it’s rainy season, alright.

Reminds me of the one afternoon I made the mistake of leaving the house without my umbrella in my bag. I got caught in the downpour, on my way home, just about 20 yards from the gate to my apartment compound.

When I got into the lobby, I didn’t have a single dry stitch on me. I smiled blindly the direction of the front desk, which I couldn’t see through my blurry glasses, waddled my way to the elevators.

I heard shuffling behind me and turned around. A maid was following my heels, with a mop.

By the time I reach my apartment, the rain had stopped.