November 10, 2012

Rain in Beirut

Rain in Beirut

 Not much happening today, other than running a hundred errands in town, and so I’m taking pictures of the rain. (In case you are thinking I got it wrong, that you take pictures rather than make them, well, Ansel Adams says it’s okay to say ‘make a picture’) 

Near the water front

When it rains in Beirut, it RAINS. It doesn’t drizzle, or fall down, or pour, no, it comes down in sheets. “Het komt met bakken uit de hemel vallen,” we’d say in Holland. The Dutch know something about rain. They’ve got a well-developed vocabulary for it .

Man hole covers get pushed out

And it doesn’t just rain for an hour here. It rains for days on end. Heavy, steady rain. Sometimes it comes with thunder. And even the thunder is not just ‘a bit of thunder’. It can thunder for hours and hours on end. Some nights, you have lightning all night long, but no thunder.

And sewers overflow
Since the coastline is backed up by a mountain range (Mount Lebanon), all this rain comes rolling down the mountains, down into the city. It comes with such force through the sewer system that close to the sea, manhole covers get pushed up and out of their place by the force of the water. Close to the sea, it basically hits the wall of seawater, and cannot go anywhere anymore but up. At that point, water comes out of the sewer, instead of going in.
It is funny that rain boots only became an item here some years ago. From 1990 to 2005, I’ve had to slug myself through puddles with only those heavy duty olive green farmer rain boots available in sports stores in Lebanon. These days we’re a little luckier.

But if you're lucky, you get to see a rainbow too at the end of the day (not today though, this one was yesterday)

Tomorrow I’ve got to walk the 10K for the Beirut International Marathon. I think I will go in rain gear. The Lebanese general thinking pattern is that people are made of sugar, and will dissolve in the rain, As such, when it rains, everyone stays indoors. The only person you will see walking tomorrow therefore is me. And my children (although one will probably be already over the finish line once I have cleared the start line) . And my housekeeper, who wants to support the Ethiopian team, and decided to join us. And the dog, because we cannot leave him at home when we’re out and having fun.

Well, that was an entire post about nothing. 

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