An English teacher's blog about his travels and his digital art.

Month: May 2015

A Drenching

As far as I’m concerned, the rainy season has officially started when I get drenched riding my motorbike to or from work. That happened yesterday as I was riding to The Farm in the afternoon. I saw a black cloud not too far ahead of me releasing some rain on the Mekong, but I hoped I would avoid it as the road made a 90 degree turn out of Vientiane heading toward my neck of the woods. Unfortunately, the rain looked even worse in that direction, and eventually I ran smack dab into it, a real downpour, soaking me to the bone and limiting my vision because of my wet glasses and the wet visor on my helmet.

To top it off, the first few heavy rains of the season flood large portions of the road, because the drainage ditches haven’t been cleared in months. As I squinted my way through the slow traffic, I came upon one of these inches-deep-with-water areas. Suddenly, a tuk-tuk came speeding by on my left and sent a wave of muddy water washing over me. I was blinded for a few seconds and afraid that I would hit another vehicle in front of me. I swore at the driver under my breath and hoped there would be no more rude drivers coming by. There weren’t, thankfully, and soon the rain ended and the hot sun returned. By the time I got to the house, my shirt was almost dry, but my jeans stayed soaked.

I had planned to get some rain gear before too long, but I wasn’t quick enough. Hopefully, the rains will hold off while I’m riding the bike until I can get at least a plastic poncho, if nothing else. The only good thing about the ride yesterday was that it was during daylight; night time riding in the rain is a total nightmare for me, something I dread doing in the upcoming rainy season. With some rain gear at least I’ll stay half-way dry, even if the conditions are driving me bonkers.

Rainbows, Heat and Work

There have been a couple of beautiful weather highlights lately. First, there was this 180 degree rainbow a few weeks back, following a brief thunderstorm and rain shower. This is at the farm, looking east toward the Mekong and Thailand.


Looking east toward Thailand. Lovely 180 degree rainbow after a brief rainstorm.

Black and White Rainbow

I fooled around in Photoshop and made this partial black and white photo of the rainbow. Fun to do and not too time-consuming.

Just a couple of days ago, this weather phenomenon, iridiscent clouds, topped a large cirro-cumulus cloud. I posted about another occurrence that we had last year. They’re unexpected, but beautiful. The large storm cloud never did get any closer to us, but sailed into the west. After twilight the horizon was aglow with lightning flashes, presumably from our cloud.

Iridescent cloud

Iridescent cloud, looking west about an hour before sunset. The black streak in the lower left corner is the eave of our neighbor’s house. Unavoidable, in this case.

I used my telephoto lens for this one to try to capture a close up shot of  the right side of the photo above.

I used my telephoto lens for this one to try to capture a close up shot of the right side of the photo above.

Our four-week vacation is over, as the second trimester of the year is about to begin. Each trimester lasts thirteen weeks, so I’ll be working through all of May and the first half of the rainy season, June and July, before getting another long break in August. The time off is nice, but it gets boring near the end. Plus, it’s unpaid time, so it’ll be good for the pocket to be back on the pay clock again. Also, being back at the school will give me better access to the Internet, so I’ll be able to post more often and check in on Facebook. Out here at the farm, the connection is spotty and slow most of the time. I’m on a metered connection, so when things are actually working well, it does get a bit expensive. Always two sides to everything, I suppose. Slow and spotty = cheap; fast and reliable = expensive. Usually, I’m fine with slow and spotty.

Another advantage of being back to work is that the school is air-conditioned. The heat has been extremely oppressive the last several weeks, with daily temperatures usually topping out over 100 degrees F. (38-40 C.) That’s too much for comfort. We have a couple of fans at the house that are almost always on, but they don’t help much during the peak heat hours. I’m looking forward to the rainy season, which brings somewhat cooler temperatures. Again, though, the other side of the coin is that there are many more thunder storms and the lightning often knocks out the power for several hours. No power = no fans. Since many of these storms hit during the night, trying to sleep without the fans cooling us off is very difficult.

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