I’ve come to Southeast Asia smack in the middle of the rainy season, the period from roughly May to October when tropical monsoons roll through and drench the subcontinent. The rain held off for my first two days here. Then, late into my second night, the thunder came with a boom and a bang, and the rain pounded down. And so it’s been every other day or so since.
I love the percussive sound of falling rain, love watching it pour off the rooftops. I’ve heard many variations on thunder since I’ve been here, mostly waking me up in the wee hours as I lie in bed. It’s quite an education for this resident of relatively thunderstorm-free California. There’s the classic low, growling rumble; the reverberating wobbly sound—like a big sheet of plastic they would shake in school plays to simulate thunder; and, most nerve-wracking of all, the metallic, crashing crescendo like cymbals exploding over my head.
So far, the rain hasn’t bothered me much. In fact, the other day I found myself wishing for rain to take the edge off the heat. Of course, if I had to ride around on a scooter, as many people do, then I might think differently. Ponchos are definitely the accessory of the season. Streets flood, and many villages too. Even the apartment below ours is prone to flooding (one of the main reasons we opted for an upstairs abode!).
I also find the rain especially comforting when I have to spend time working inside. It helps me focus by reassuring me that I wouldn’t really rather be outdoors anyway. But I may have to reevaluate that notion after my experience getting caught in a downpour while running the other day. It was a faint drizzle when I started, but by the time I was nearly home, a full-on deluge had commenced. And it was exhilarating.
My mom once told me the rain in Vietnam felt like taking a shower. And I have to say, the rain was definitely stronger than the water pressure in my shower here. (Although yes, the shower does have hot water, for those who asked). The rain itself was also warm enough that it didn’t bother me that I was soaked through. The people around me barely seemed to notice either. Kids still kicked soccer balls in the street, couples walked under umbrellas, vendors doggedly set up their stalls for the night market under tarps.
Running in that movie-style downpour was something I’d always wanted to experience. There are few things better than the feeling of rain on your skin, knowing that you’re almost home, knowing that you’ll soon be dry, knowing that you’re awake and alive.