Archive for the ‘rain’ Tag

Udan Boot [Big rain]

I’ve been collecting photos of rainy days for a while now. The images below are from the Cultural Festival in Dili back at the end of November. It got rained out big time – apparently it took a week for the flood waters around the President’s Palace to subside. The drains get clogged up with rubbish so the water has nowhere to go.

And this photo was taken in Lospalos, or just outside Lospalos, on the road to the lake in the National Park. We were in a 4wd but no-one was sure how flooded the road was. Maleve walked on ahead of the car, to see how far up his legs the water went. In the end, it was too deep (too much rainfall had flooded over the causeway) so our intrepid driver did a u-turn on the narrow causeway and took us back out again. I took this photo from the back window.

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The Great Wall – a photo diary of the day

You are Here

Chairlift up to the wall

Hovering mist (but nothing too threatening)

"Run, run, run!" said the chairlift attendants

The first tower

The glow of our plastic ponchos, purchased below

The last bit of sunshine

3 in green

Our picnic

Suddenly a cloud rolls in

View from the chairlifts going down

Damp but still jolly

Where: The Great Wall at Mutanyiu

It poured with rain but it was still a marvelous day. A note to future visitors: If it doesn’t rain then you will get to descend the wall on a long silver Slippery-Dip! Definitely worth a visit to Mutanyiu for this. But they close the slide when it is raining so we had to settle for the chairlift/cable-car.

XiHu Lake in Hangzhou

On Day 2 of the CMA [Community Music Activity] Commission Seminar, we had a group excursion to the renowned XiHu Lake (West Lake) which is the reason that Hangzhou is sometimes known as the Garden Paradise of China (or something along those lines).

It’s a famed beauty spot that attracts hordes of tourists everyday, but particularly during the summer holidays, which are in full swing in China. We travelled to the lake by bus, and as we got nearer, the clouds darkened. As we alighted the bus, the first raindrops began to fall. We walked briskly to the traditional dragon boat that would carry us across the water to one of the islands, and once aboard, the rain drops began to fall more frequently. Soon there was thunder, closely followed by lightning. The heavy clouds changed the whole ambience of the area – the outlines of the surrounding mountains became more distinct in their varying shades of grey, and and the bright colours of the dragon boats stood out sharply against this backdrop. I’m not sure the photo below does this justice. After a while I switched to black-and-white photos, to take advantage of the sombre atmosphere.

View from the lake

Dragon boats against the skyline

Fellow travellers

Me, drenched

And not just me

The tide of umbrellas as we made our way back to the bus

Buried in books

I’m on holidays! Up in Byron Bay, where the rain is falling thick and fast in a way that leaves us Melbournians open-mouthed at the wonder of it all. It’s still warm and humid, so we can wear thong (flip-flops) so who cares about getting a little wet?

I’ve been relishing this break from thesis writing. I’ve been reading obsessively, and can happily recommend these books:

  • DogBoy by Eva Hornung. This was the first book I read on this holiday. Couldn’t put it down. It’s sad though, heart-breakingly sad, and it sat heavily in my head for a long time after. I went back to re-read certain sections (hoping to make it easier on myself, to no avail). The writing is beautiful. Just thinking about this book now, a couple of days after finishing it, I am again taken back into that world.
  • Things We Didn’t See Coming, by Steven Amsterdam. This one was also compelling. Lots of gaps that never quite get filled in. Such assured writing – he never lets go of you as a reader.  “It’s quite a ride,” was my first comment, when someone asked how I’d liked it. Fascinating, alarming, and compelling as you long for him to make more sense of things for you. A vision of an amoral, apocalyptic near-future that is quite imaginable. Last night at dinner those of us who have read the book wondered aloud how different it might have felt to have read it during the last months of Howard’s reign. Are we a littl more optimistic now? Or simply a bit worn down from the frustrations of the Howard era? Anyway, it was an intriguing thing to ponder. Striking cover art too.
  • Year of Wonders, by Geraldine Brookes. Oh, I loved this one too. I loved the heroine, and I loved the evocative, rich writing that created a whole village and community for me. Strange twist at the end took me by surprise, and the desperation and exhaustion of the community as they battle the Great Plague is palpable.

Right now, I have just got started on Linda Jaivin’s new book, A Most Immoral Woman. Jaivin has a cheeky, flirtatious, disarming way of writing, that balances out the pompousity of her main character Morrison (a man, not the most immoral woman of the title). I haven’t read any of her other books, but heard her speak about this novel (and read from it) a week or so ago on Radio National’s The Book Show.

Apart from the reading on this holiday, I have plans to go to yoga classes (have been to two already), and maybe, maybe…. do a surfing course. I’ve always thought surfing looked like the most amazing past-time. Devotees get a kind of glazed, evangelical look in their eyes, and they are so committed that I figure it must be a pretty addictive experience. I’m keen to find out for myself what joys it contains.

Next week, back to work. Four days of workshops at ArtPlay. And the thesis is coming along, coming along. I’m up to my conclusions now, so taking a bit of time this week to re-read everything I’ve written and ponder what my resulting conclusions might actually be.

Proper rain

Last Friday night there was an earthquake in Melbourne. 4.6 on the Richter scale – big for us, though not on a scale of earthquakes elsewhere. Still, think of the year we have had so far – heatwave. Firestorm. Less rain than ever before. Now an earthquake. What next? asked a friend recently. A volcano?

I’ve noticed Melbournians have a new way of talking about rain. “It’s raining,” we’ll announce with joy. “Yes…. but it’s not proper rain,” will come the reply, and we’ll have to admit this is true.

Proper rain soaks the ground. It takes the puddles a while to disappear – not just a few hours. It makes things really wet. It gets in the way of plans, means you consider things like an umbrella, or sensible shoes.

We don’t really get rain like that anymore. It rained this evening, while I was at my Italian class. We all stared out the window, completely distracted as we watched it get heavier and heavier. I started to feel a bit rueful, as I was on my bike and wearing very un-sensible shoes. But then it stopped. And it didn’t come back. I rode home in the dry.

A friend told me about children she knows here in Melbourne. According to their father, they are fascinated by rain (the way that other children might be fascinated by dirt, perhaps). They just haven’t really seen it, so when it rains they are taken completely by surprise, and are transfixed – for as long as it lasts, that is.

Melbourne weather

Oh, the weather, the weather… yesterday morning as I cycled to the pool it was dark and grey and even though it was already about 7.30am I wished I had brought my lights and reflective jacket with me.

Not only that, it was raining! Then later, when I left the pool to go for coffee, it was drizzling! Imagine drizzle in this hard-baked city. Then later again, when I left my home at lunchtime to go buy bread I had to put on a cardigan. I bumped into my neighbour in the street and she had dressed her 2-year-old daughter in a BEANIE!

It was as if Melbourne had forgotten that it is Melbourne in the middle of a drought, and a record-breaking heatwave… for just a few hours there it felt like we were in another country. Ireland in the midsummer, perhaps.

rain-from-my-balcony

(view from my balcony on a rainy day – but many months ago…)

Then today things are back to ‘normal’ in that it is pushing thirty degrees and very sunny. Tomorrow is another day with scarily perfect fire conditions, so everyone is on high alert. The fires are still burning, in different places.