Sunday, May 18, 2008

Rain in Hanoi


It's 10:00pm and we're pinned down in the hotel by a monumental downpour that began around 4:30pm. We had just returned from a day in Lenin Park (and some necessary grocery re-stocking) and were about to head to the pool, when the gathering clouds began to spit lightning and spout rain (as, I think, Lear says). So I took my swimming suit back off, and we entertained ourselves in the room. TM left his suit on for another hour, hoping the rain would let up. It didn't; in fact the rain grew heavier and heavier... and we ended up having pancakes in the room for dinner.

We had pancakes because M had found a box of pancake mix at the Citimart while we were shopping and she prevailed on us to buy it for breakfasts this week. At first I wasn't going to spend the money... but it's a good thing we did, since it made for an easy dinner, along with the rest of the pineapple chips, some leftover noodles, the last of the milk (for TM), a can of orange soda (for M and B), and two cans of Bia Ha Noi (one for me and one for E). K had a delightful meal of rice cereal, prune juice, mashed edamame, and some leftover noodles and cooked carrots. He topped it off with a half-bottle of formula.

As I look out the hotel hall windows onto Thuy Khue, I see rivers of water pouring through the streets, lashing sheets of rain, flapping awnings on the fronts of stalls and buildings, and flashes of lightning illuminate the skeleton of the massive partially constructed hotel complex just southeast of the hotel. Traffic is a bit lighter on a rainy Sunday evening, but still it flows. Motorbikes send up roostertails of water. Cars cut bow waves that threaten to engulf the passing motorbikes. Bicycles ridden by hardy souls holding umbrellas somehow manage to weave through pedal-deep pools. I'm tempted to put my swimming suit back on and wade out into the maelstrom, just to pit my strength against the storm.

(Actually, given the leaks in the Somerset Westlake edifice, we may yet end up swimming. As I was in the hall, I could hear splashing water, and I followed the sound to a roof door on the seventh floor, through which water is streaming. Some of the influx of rain is running down the stairs, while some of the water is coming through the floor to the hall below. Here on the fourth floor, we're probably safe... but we may find the whole complex floating out on West Lake by morning.)

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