25 May 2013

Blame it on the Rain - Monsoon in Kathmandu

Shut up, Jane Siberry.

Reading my blog lately and you’d be right to assume that I have been one morose motherfucker. However, the picture I paint here is not always the most complete, and there are other things on my mind that don’t involve death, goodbyes and lost loves.

It’s Monsoon Season. That means that every single day is a ferociously hot, baffling ordeal – the kind of muggy heat that makes you swagger and sway with dizzy until finally at around four pm the sky clouds over and it just snaps. The weather breaks and the angry blackness lets loose torrents of rain. Now, I am from Vancouver, and so I know a thing or two about the rain, but this is not your garden variety drizzle. It is as if each drop is a garden hose on full blast, and within minutes the streets of the capital are flooded and everyone is wading around in knee-deep water.

But we all know this ain’t just water, don’t we? It’s a fetid stew of sewage, dust and garbage and it means that the blisters I have on my feet from my flip flops never heal, just get angry and red and increasingly septic. Cars start to drift dangerously, sidewalks disappear and entire neighbourhoods deal with a daily onslaught of floodwater. Lightning kills more people each year in Nepal than it does anywhere else in the world!

When I said "Make it Rain" I did not mean this. No sir.  
Some days are worse than others. Two nights ago it poured so hard that even the locals were stunned and it made headlines the next morning. I was caught trying to get a taxi to Kalinka’s house so I could make her dinner, and the "water" rose to my knees in minutes. I paid double the normal rate for that taxi, but I was relieved to pay it. Others didn’t fare so well.

Like my friend Matilda, who experienced the power of the rains firsthand. This was her most recent facebook status: “Monsoon 1,000,000, Matilda 0. Scooter ride back from work lost both thongs so barefoot on roads, gave Nepali men from Thamel to Sanepa a good white wet t-shirt comp, then drove into a waist deep ditch of sewage, at which point the scooter stopped working. Well played, Nepal, well played.” 

The storm cleared the air and paved the way for a heatwave, and since this epic Noah’s Ark rainfall two days ago, it hasn’t rained – and the pressure in the atmosphere is building. I am now lying on my couch like a beached whale in a onezie, drinking water and trying to convince myself not to get naked and sit on my deck. It’s a kind of close mugginess that I have never experienced in my life, and the heavy air is like a balloon that needs the rain to come and pop it.

The weirdest thing about all of this is that monsoon is not supposed to officially start until June, and so locals were calling this “pre-monsoon” until the crazy storm occurred. The city has at least two more months of this sordid weather but I myself have less than two weeks left of the stuff (and of Nepal. Full stop). It’s kind of like a weird endurance test for your body and your brain to see how much “horrible” it can withstand - in a weird way I will miss it.

Plus, I look adorable with flushed cheeks and wet hair.

Til it rains –


Esther said...


I am looking to move to Kathmandu in the next few months and have what seems like to me, a million questions. I would be SO grateful if you would take the time to answer a few or help me to find the answers elsewhere. I will share posts on Facebook, link your blog on mine, whatever you would like :) Please take pity, and help!!


Violet Dear said...

Esther - No problem - why don't you post your questions on the Madness and Beauty Facebook page and I can answer them there?

Cheers, VD